Day Care Children Used in Porn, Mom Says

     GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) – A Michigan man created child pornography at his mother’s day care center, the parent of one of the victimized children claims in court.
     Filed in Kent County Circuit Court, the complaint takes aim at the Lowell business Shelley’s Sweeties and its owner, Shelley Stiehl.
     In December 2013, Stiehl’s son, Travis Stiehl, faced an indictment for creating child pornography and possessing more than 2,000 images and videos of child porn.
     Federal court records indicate that the man’s victims were between the ages of 2 and 9, and had attended the day care his mother ran out of their home.
     Travis Stiehl ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
     The Shelley’s Sweeties client who filed the complaint on Sept. 4 identifies herself by name, but Courthouse News has redacted that detail in light of the sensitive nature of the claims.
     She says she entrusted her daughter, E.L., to Shelley’s Sweeties for the two years prior to Travis Stiehl’s indictment.
     E.L., whose age is not mentioned in the complaint, “was a victim of the child pornography and sexual abuse created by Travis Stiehl,” the complaint states.
     Neither E.L.’s parents nor the state of Michigan had identified Travis Stiehl “as a person who would assist with the care and/or supervision of children while he was present at the family child care home,” according to the complaint.
     “Defendant Shelley Stiehl allowed Travis Stiehl to have unsupervised and prolonged unaccompanied access to E.L. and other children without her being present during the times she voluntarily assumed the duty of care and safety of the children at the child care home,” the complaint states.
     E.L.’s mother says Shelley’s Sweeties must have known that its failure to exercise due-care diligence “was likely to prove disastrous and cause injuries to others, including the minor E.L.”
     The mother seeks damages for gross negligence. She is represented by Miles Murphy III of Plachta, Murphy & Associates.
     Stiehl could not be reached for comment.

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