Ex-Pediatric Nurse Pleads Guilty to Sex Acts with Newborn

Michael Lutts is charged with sexual exploitation of a child and distribution of child pornography.

A pediatric nurse accused of performing sex acts on two infants and videotaping them entered a guilty plea Thursday, the U.S. attorney said.

Michael William Lutts, 50, a former nurse, was arrested last August at his College Grove home and charged with sexual exploitation of a child.

Lutts pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of distribution of child pornography. He admitted to 15 instances of photographing or videotaping the infants in "sexually explicit situations at both his home and his work place," the U.S. attorney said.

Lutts also agreed to give up his College area home, in which many of the crimes took place.

A federal grand jury indictment says around July 24, he took sexually explicit digital photos of an 11-month-old girl.

He then began performing lewd acts on his prematurely born, 2-month-old foster child on Aug. 4, 2014, the day Lutts received custody of him, officials say.

Investigators detail graphic incidents in court documents, alleging Lutts touched and manipulated the infant’s genitals while masturbating and filming the abuse.

Pictures show the hospital tag was still attached to the boy’s leg, according to a complaint. The FBI says the baby can be heard crying through many of the videos.

Agents started tracking Lutts because they believed he was a child pornography distributor. When they served a search warrant to his house, they say they found several hundred pornographic images and videos involving children.

“This is a deeply disturbing case,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “We will do everything in our power to protect our precious, defenseless children from sexual abuse and exploitation, especially at the hands of caregivers who are supposed to keep them safe .”

The foster child has since been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.

Kaiser Permanente said Lutts was terminated in September.

Two other men are accused of conspiring with Lutts. A federal indictment says Stephen Schaffner, an ex-counselor, directed Lutts to sexually abuse his foster child and send pictures to him.

Last week, Bartolomeo Baravella was arrested on suspicion of planning to kidnap a baby with Lutts. Baravella has been charged with possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

“Though the FBI investigates many types of criminal investigations, it is particularly disturbing when the victims are sexually exploited children or infants," said FBI Special Agent in Eric S. Birnbaum. "When this type of sexual exploitation takes place, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue those who would exploit and abuse children, and bring them to justice."

Lutts faces a maximum of 80 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 20.

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