GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Lansing man has been sentenced to life in prison for sexual exploitation of children. He is 60-year-old Robert Duane Wicke.
According to the Department of Justice, a special agent with the FBI worked undercover in a messaging application that is commonly used by people interested in sexually abusing children. The FBI agent posed as the mother of 7-year-old and 9-year-old daughters, who lived in California. Wicke wanted the mother to bring the girls to him, so that he could sexually assault them. He also planned to train them to be sex slaves. Wicke sent the undercover agent videos of other children being abused and raped, and wanted the mother to share the videos with her daughters. This was part of a grooming effort to desensitize the children to sex.
On March 21, 2022, Wicke went to a hotel in Grand Rapids, believing that the mother and her children were traveling to Michigan from California. However, he was instead greeted by federal agents. A search of his digital devices disclosed his collection of child pornography.
Wicke was sentenced to life in prison for attempting to coerce and entice children to engage in sex acts. He was also sentenced to 20 years’ custody on three counts of distributing child pornography videos, and 20 years’ custody for possessing a collection of child pornography. The child pornography offenses will be served concurrently with the life sentence. U.S. District Judge Jane M. Beckering also ordered 10 years of supervised release should Wicke be released early in custody. The judge also described his crimes as some of the worst she has seen during her time as a judge.
“Mr. Wicke’s depraved actions are beyond words,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “I am grateful for the FBI’s work to protect children. Today and every day we will hold child predators accountable.”
“Protecting children from dangerous child predators is a top priority for the FBI in Michigan and across the country,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “Today and every day we will hold child predators accountable.”