Heights man indicted on child porn charges

By J. PATRICK PEPPER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DETROIT — A Dearborn Heights man was scheduled for arraignment in federal court Monday on charges that he arranged to engage in sex acts with a preteen girl and recorded and distributed photographs of the alleged assault over the Internet.

A grand jury indictment unsealed last week alleges that 50-year-old John Belloli Jr. sexually assaulted the girl in June 2009 at the Sterling Heights residence of 47-year-old Robert Mueller.

The indictment alleges that Mueller used a prescription sleep aid to sedate the girl – believed to be 7 or 8 years old at the time of the alleged incident — and that the girl is known to Mueller. Both men then allegedly took turns assaulting the girl while the other acted as the photographer.

The indictment says both men “digitally penetrated (the victim’s) vagina,” “performed oral sex on (the victim),” and “ejaculated on (the victim’s) body.” They then took the photographs and uploaded them on to each other’s computers.

For more than a year after the alleged assault, Belloli and Mueller continued to meet at Mueller’s house to exchange child pornography of other minors, the indictment says. During this period, Belloli allegedly asked Mueller to arrange for another meeting with the same girl for the same purposes.

In early July, federal authorities executed a search warrant on Mueller’s house, where they seized computers, computer-related media, a camera and an external hard drive found hidden in a basement ceiling. Some of the file names found on the devices included “(victim)’s Special Night 10-11-08 7 yo,” and “(victim’s name) 7 yo 10-30-08 Limited Too Panties.”

Also found on the devices were folders containing images that appeared to depict Belloli and Mueller’s alleged assault of the girl, the indictment said.

At his arraignment on Thursday, Mueller stood mute except to plead innocent to the numerous charges facing him, according to published reports.

Belloli, meanwhile, has been held in custody since mid-July, when he was remanded without bond.

In the order denying his bond, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub wrote that Belloli has managed to evade scrutiny from his wife, family, friends and congregation members from his church, which his wife testified he attends every Sunday.

Belloli’s attorney, Raymond Cassar of Farmington Hills, sought to have Belloli released to the third-party custody of his wife, the order said. But because she herself admitted being “blind-sided” by the allegations, and because there are as many as 12 nieces and nephews who visit Belloli’s house – sometimes while his wife is at work – she would not make an appropriate custodian, Majzoub wrote.

“Defendant is not a candidate for bond,” Majzoub said. “The evidence against him is strong and the nature of the alleged offense smacks of depravity. He is a danger to the community and to the most vulnerable members of our society, small children.”

Majzoub added that the prospect of life in prison, a clean criminal record notwithstanding, makes Belloli a flight risk.