Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Carroll County Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Possession of Child Pornography

 Curtis Posed Online as the Mother of an Infant or Toddler and Discussed and Distributed Images of the Sexual Abuse of His Purported Children

Baltimore, Maryland – Matthew Curtis, age 24, of Hampstead, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charge of possession of child pornography.  In September 2017, Curtis was convicted of possession of child pornography in the Circuit Court of Carroll County, Maryland and was sentenced to one year and six months in prison and three years’ probation.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Carroll County Sheriff James DeWees, and Frederick County Sheriff Charles A. “Chuck” Jenkins.

According to Curtis’ guilty plea, from November 2019 through May 28, 2020, while on state probation for his conviction for possession of child pornography, Curtis downloaded, possessed and distributed child pornography.  Specifically, Curtis used an internet-based messaging application to repeatedly share and distribute depictions of prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The investigation revealed that within messaging chatrooms, Curtis frequently posed as the mother of an infant or toddler and discussed the sexual abuse of his purported children.  Curtis also distributed images documenting the sexual abuse of what he claimed were his children.  In some instances, Curtis and other online users frequently discussed their sexual abuse of children and their desire to abuse Curtis’s purported children.

As stated in the plea agreement, on March 5, 2020, a cloud-based storage provider sent a CyberTip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reporting that a user had uploaded 22 files of suspected child pornography.  The IP address used to login to the cloud-based application was assigned to Curtis’s Hampstead residence and the email address was an address used by Curtis.

On May 28, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Curtis’s residence and seized electronic devices, including two cell phones. A forensic review of Curtis’s cell phones revealed a total of 429 images and 129 videos of child pornography.  Some of the images and videos depicted prepubescent minors and sado-masochistic conduct.

As stated in his plea agreement, upon his release from prison, Curtis must continue to register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). 

Curtis and the government have agreed that, if the Court accepts the guilty plea, Curtis will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.  U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for October 22, 2021.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.  For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.         

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who is prosecuting the federal case.

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