Marion Man Pleads Guilty To Multiple Offenses
Offenses Included Child Pornography and Failure to Appear
Matthew Lee Staszak, 30, an Assistant Chaplain with the United States Navy, formerly stationed in North Carolina, but from Marion, IL, pled guilty in federal district court on August 5, 2013, to Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (Count 1), Travel with the Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct (Counts 2 and 3), and Failure to Appear (Count 4), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
At sentencing, Staszak faces a term in prison ranging from not less than fifteen years but not more than thirty years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not less than five years to life on Count 1. Staszak faces a term of not more than 30 years, a fine up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of not less than 5 years to life on both Counts 2 and 3. On Count 4, Staszak faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine up to $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three (3) years. Any sentence imposed on Count 4 must run consecutively to the sentences imposed on Counts 1 – 3. Staszak also agreed to forfeit the vehicle that was used to commit the offenses alleged in Counts 2 and 3. In addition, upon his release from prison, Staszak must register as a sex offender as a condition of his supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for December 6, 2013, in Benton, Illinois. Staszak has been held without bond since his capture on June 2, 2013.
The investigation revealed that, from approximately February 2011, through May 29, 2012, Staszak engaged in a sexual relationship with minor under the age of 17. Staszak resided in North Carolina while the minor resided in the Southern District of Illinois.
The offense charged in Count 1 occurred in or around June or July 2011, when Staszak filmed himself engaged in sexual intercourse with the minor, who was 16 years old at the time. Staszak and the minor watched the video after it was recorded.
The offense charged in Count 2 occurred on or about March 22, 2011, when Staszak traveled from North Carolina to Williamson County, Illinois, to engage in sexual intercourse with the minor who was 15 years old at the time. The offense charged in Count 3 occurred on or about May 29, 2011, the minor’s 16th birthday, when Staszak again traveled from North Carolina to Williamson County to engage in sexual intercourse with the minor.
Finally, the offense charged in Count 4 occurred on October 4, 2012, when Staszak, who was on pretrial release pending trial, cut off his ankle monitoring bracelet and fled to avoid prosecution, failed to appear at an initial appearance on a superseding indictment before a judge in Benton. Staszak remained a fugitive until he was re-arrested by the US Marshals on June 2, 2013.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' 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.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources".
The case was investigated by the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Springfield Child Exploitation Task Force. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorneys Kit Morrissey and Angela Scott.