A longtime friend of a San Diego nurse accused of molesting a 2-month-old foster child said she visited the suspect at his home before the graphic allegations came to light and he even showed her the nursery he had set up for his new baby.
Michael William Lutts, 50, a pediatric nurse working at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, allegedly sexually abused a foster child in his care, recording the crimes on camera, according to a complaint filed by the FBI Wednesday.
He’s accused of beginning the lewd acts on Aug. 4 – the very same day he received custody of the prematurely born baby. According to graphic details in court documents, the alleged abuse included Lutts touching and manipulating the baby boy’s genitals while masturbating, among other things.
Lisa Rosenfeld and her family have known Lutts for the past 20 years.
She said Lutts once worked with her sister caring for children with autism. Rosenfeld’s father was also Lutts’ landlord, renting him an apartment for many years.
On Friday, Rosenfeld told NBC 7 she was completely shocked and disturbed by the accusations of child molestation against Lutts.
She said she had recently visited Lutts at his new home where he showed her the room he had prepared for his incoming foster child.
“I had gone to see him at his new house and he showed me the room he had all set up because he was going to adopt a baby boy,” Rosenfeld recalled. “The room was set up beautiful – all set up for a baby boy.”
Rosenfeld said Lutts mentioned he “had to do a lot of stuff to show he was a proper parent” prior to becoming a foster father.
She said she never imagined Lutts would soon be charged with the molestation of the baby boy.
“I was shocked to hear this, like, ‘Oh my God.’ Totally shocked; it’s not acceptable. Nobody should do that to a baby,” she said. “I never dreamed he would do something like that to a baby.”
Rosenfeld said she saw no signs that Lutts might commit these alleged crimes.
While he was a tenant at her father’s apartment, Rosenfeld said Lutts had no problems, always paid his rent on time and had lots of friends, all of whom were “age-appropriate.”
Given his job as a pediatric nurse and access to children, Rosenfeld said officials will have to thoroughly investigate just how far his interactions with young patients went. She also hopes investigators look at Lutts’ time working with children with autism to ensure there were no victims there.
Rosenfeld said that if Lutts is guilty of the sexual abuse, he should be in prison.
“That’s the kind of person that needs to be locked up. It doesn’t matter who it is – anybody that’s going to do harm to a baby. It’s a baby. That’s not acceptable,” she said.
“I never saw this coming. Wow. There’s nothing else you can say,” she added.
On Friday, Lutts appeared in federal court for a detention hearing with his head down, shackled at the waist. He did not speak and appeared sullen.
Through his attorney, he agreed to spend at least the next two weeks in jail without bond
Prosecutors could not comment on the case due to the ongoing investigation but did say Lutts may be indicted before his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.
Lutts was arrested Tuesday after the FBI raided his College Grove home. Investigators allegedly found thousands of photos and videos on his phone and computer depicting graphic sex acts with children, including his 2-month-old foster child.
According to court documents released this week, Lutts was also videotaped naked in his living room with the baby near him while he performed lewd acts on himself. Pictures show the hospital tag was still attached to the infant’s leg.
FBI agents said the newborn can be heard crying through many of the videos. The abuse happened over the course of at least five days, according to investigators.
The 2-month-old victim has since been placed in the care of Child Protective Services.
On Thursday Kaiser Permanente said Lutts had been suspended from work and would not be returning until the investigation and criminal proceedings are completed.
The medical group's spokesperson said the hospital has had no indication from law enforcement that their patients were possible vicitms but its administration is working with authorities.