News and Press Releases

project safe childhood

retired springfield police officer pleads guilty
to sexually exploiting a minor,
faces at least 15 years in prison

June 1, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a retired Springfield, Mo., police officer pleaded guilty in federal court today to sexually exploiting a minor by secretly videotaping her in order to produce child pornography.

Jack Van Matre, 55, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to both of the charges contained in a Nov. 8, 2011, federal indictment. Van Matre remains in federal custody.

By pleading guilty today, Van Matre admitted that he used a minor, identified as Jane Doe #1, to produce child pornography on two separate occasions between Aug. 1 and Oct. 7, 2011.

According to court documents, the 14-year-old minor discovered hidden video cameras installed in fake ductwork in a bedroom and bathroom at Van Matre’s residence. Investigators examined Van Matre’s computer and found sexually explicit videos of the child victim that had been recorded with the hidden cameras.

Under federal statutes, Van Matre is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 60 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.

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