News and Press Releases

Child Pornographer Received 13-Year sentence

May 10, 2012

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jeff Matheson, 41, Balsam Lake, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William Conley to 13 years in prison, to be followed by supervised release for life, for distributing images of child pornography on the Internet. Matheson pleaded guilty to the charge on February 23, 2012.

According to court records, on December 12, 2010, an FBI agent signed on to an undercover computer in Plano, Texas and accessed a peer-to-peer file sharing program. The agent saw that a user was sharing child pornography files. The agent started downloading these files from that user's account and downloaded 399 files in 20 minutes. The agent captured the IP address for that user with special software. The IP address came back to a subscriber in Balsam Lake.

The FBI obtained a search warrant for the subscriber's residence and executed the warrant on March 18, 2011. Agents found a Gateway computer located on a table in the dining room. Forensic analysis of the computer showed that it contained multiple files of child pornography.

The FBI interviewed Jeff Matheson at the residence. Matheson admitted to the FBI that he used peer-to-peer software to search the Internet to find photos of children. He said he liked finding nude photos and movies of girls under the age of 12. He said he made all of his photos and movies available for sharing using peer-to-peer file sharing programs. Most of the child pornography images on his computer were downloaded using peer-to-peer software.

At today's sentencing, Judge Conley noted that during Matheson's interviews with the FBI, Matheson indicated that his preferred fantasy is to have sexual intercourse with a 4 to 5 year old girl who is crying as he vaginally penetrates her. Matheson’s collection of child pornography reflected this preference. Many of the pictures and movies possessed by Matheson included images of adult males engaged in vaginal and anal sexual intercourse with girls as young as one year old. Many of the girls are often screaming or crying or trying to get away.

The judge also found that Matheson had a twenty-year experience with this unlawful conduct. Matheson admitted that he has been collecting child pornography since college. He also told the FBI that he periodically felt guilty and would purge his collection, but then start it up all over again. This conduct continued even after his wife found out about his collection of child pornography, and even after the FBI seized his computer and storage devices on March 18, 2011, when Matheson had a friend get him another computer.

In imposing the sentence, Judge Conley explained that Matheson posed a very significant danger to the community. The judge noted that Matheson had sexual contact with a girl (age four to five years old) where he let her touch his genitals because he wanted to know what it felt like to be touched there by a child. The judge also pointed out that Matheson lied to an FBI polygrapher and said “no” to the question as to whether he ever had sexual contact with a child. Matheson only admitted to such contact after he was confronted with the fact that the polygraph showed he was lying. Matheson then admitted to at least four other sexual contacts with female children.

Judge Conley also found it troubling that Matheson told the FBI that two of these children wanted this kind of sexual contact because they had a "crush" on Matheson. At the end of the hearing, Judge Conley told Matheson that "these are as bad a set of facts this Court has seen in a child pornography distribution case."

The charges against Matheson were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Polk County Sheriff's Office. The prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber.


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