Longtime Montgomery Resident Sentenced to 108 Months in Federal Prison for Knowingly Distributing Child Pornography Over the Internet
Montgomery, Alabama - Frederick Ball Matthews, 48, of Montgomery, Alabama, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to 108 months in federal prison for knowingly distributing child pornography over the internet.
Matthews pled guilty on November 10, 2011, to distribution of child pornography. Matthews admitted that during a six-month period in 2010 he used a computer and a peer-to-peer file sharing software application knowingly to distribute more than 600 child pornography images to other individuals.
The federal investigation of Matthews began in the first half of 2010, when the Department of Homeland Security, Assistant Attaché in Toronto, Canada received information from the Toronto Police Service – Child Exploitation Section that an internet account traceable to Matthews was making thousands of child pornography images and videos available for download. At around the same time, Matthews’ account was snagged in two other, wholly independent, undercover operations conducted by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Rochester, New York, and Miami, Florida. Between the three investigations, officers observed Matthews’ computer hosting for download many thousands of images and videos of children being sexually abused.
In June 2010, agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) executed a federal search warrant at Matthews’ Montgomery residence, seizing two computers and numerous electronic storage devices. A subsequent forensic analysis found over 200,000 images and over 8,000 videos of child pornography spread across one computer, two external hard drives, and a USB flash drive – a collection that ranks among the largest ever prosecuted in the Middle District of Alabama. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reviewed Matthews’ collection and was able to identify the children depicted in over 5,000 images and nearly 1,500 videos.
Matthews further had a hidden camera in one of his bathrooms and used it on several occasions to secretly record young men showering at his house. Several of those recordings were recovered from Matthews’ home. To date, however, HSI has been unable to determine the age or identity of any of the individuals depicted in these shower videos.
George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, made the following statement:
“Some may say that this is a harsh sentence, but folks need to remember that we as a community, have to do everything in our power to protect our children and these pornographic pictures leave emotional and mental scars on the children depicted in them. My office will continue to aggressively prosecute these type cases and will continue to use all resources available under the law to protect our children.”
“This case is evidence of the continuing cooperation between the state, local and federal government in fighting crimes throughout Alabama. I would like to give a special thank you to Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Stump for all of his hard work on this case. I also want to thank the Montgomery field office of the Department of Homeland Security and Michael B. Trotter with the Office of Prosecution Services of the Alabama District Attorneys’ Association for their thorough investigation. ”
Matthews’ sentence includes 108 months in federal prison, a fine of $30,000 to be paid to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or other appropriate children’s charity, a fine of $15,000 to be paid to the U.S. District Court and a special assessment fee of $100. Judge Thompson also ordered that upon Matthews’ release from prison he serve his lifetime on supervised release. As a condition of Matthews’ supervised release, he is never to enter into a relationship without informing the other party of the circumstances of his conviction. Thompson further ordered that if Matthews became involved in a relationship with anyone, that person not have custody of any minor children.
This case was investigated by agents in the Montgomery field office of the Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Toronto Police Service – Child Exploitation Section, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Rochester, New York, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Miami, Florida. Forensic analysis was provided by Michael B. Trotter with the Office of Prosecution Services, Alabama District Attorneys’ Association. Assistant United States Attorney Nathan D. Stump prosecuted the case.
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