Battle Creek man gets life sentence for 'nightmare' crime

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A sex trafficker from Battle Creek will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Federal Judge Janet Neff sentenced Michael Anthony Clayton Monday in connection to what she called “a horrendous, drug-fueled, weapon-heavy nightmare.”

A jury found Clayton guilty of producing child pornography involving three girls about half his age and forcing one of them into prostitution. The jury also convicted Clayton of conspiring to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of weapons.

The case against Clayton started on Oct. 5, 2017 when police got a call that he was holding a 16-year-old girl against her will. The girl had sent a text message to her dad saying she was afraid for her life and being held against her will in the basement of a house in the 500 block of Lakeview Avenue in Battle Creek.  

Battle Creek police went to the home and rescued the girl from an unlit basement Clayton had forced her into to avoid police detection. Officers also arrested Clayton and Ramiro Ortis Hernandez Jr.

The victim told detectives she met Clayton a few weeks earlier when he invited her to a party, gave her cocaine, and expected her to have sex with him as payment for the drugs. Authorities say Clayton continued to give the teen cocaine and demand sex.

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