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Former ‘Survivor’ contestant sentenced for child porn

The child porn was discovered during an investigation into an alleged Ponzi scheme.
Michael Skupin on Survivor: Philippines." Getty Images

A former Survivor’ contestant was sentenced Tuesday to one to four years in prison after being convicted on four counts of child pornography possession last month.

Michael Skupin, 54, was also sentenced to pay restitution of $31,800 and probation for his financial crimes, with the first payments going to restitution, according to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Skupin was charged in February 2016 with larceny by conversion and racketeering, along with the possession of child sexually abusive materials.

Authorities were tipped off to Skupin after victims from his alleged Ponzi scheme contacted a local news reporter, according to prosecutors. As part of the investigation, his laptop was searched and authorities “discovered images of underage children in sexual situations.”

"Today's sentencing is a strong message to those who prey on children: no matter who you are or what you do, we will find you," Schuette said. "The act of downloading and viewing images of children in sexually abusive situations is reprehensible, this behavior re-victimizes the child victims over and over."

Skupin was the first person to be medically evacuated from the reality competition show, when he appeared on “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” in 2001, according to People. He went on to compete again in "Survivor: Philippines" in 2012.

Professing his innocence during his sentencing, Skupin also provided anexclusive statement to People the night before, where he starts out by saying:

“I’m sorry if I did anything wrong, I really thought I was helping people through a business I took over called Pay It Forward."

"I took the plea on that charge because I had lost faith in our justice system. I lost that faith when a jury of strangers said “probably” and found me guilty of possession of child porn. I did not look at or download anything on my computer that could have been considered anything even close to child porn.”

 
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