News and Press Releases

retired springfield police officer sentenced to 19 years
for sexually exploiting a minor

November 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 was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting a minor by secretly videotaping her in order to produce child pornography.

Jack Van Matre, 55, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 19 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. Van Matre was employed by the Springfield Police Department in 1986 and retired in 2006.

On June 1, 2012, Van Matre pleaded guilty to using 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 victim discovered hidden video cameras installed in fake ductwork in a bedroom and bathroom at Van Matre’s residence. Van Matre admitted that he cut holes in the ceiling, covered them with vent covers and installed two hidden cameras. At first, court documents say, Van Matre apparently positioned himself in the attic above these rooms and positioned his camera manually. Later, he purchased cameras that could be controlled remotely from his personal computer located in his bedroom and were linked via a wireless connection.

Investigators examined Van Matre’s computer and found sexually explicit videos of the child victim that had been recorded with the hidden cameras. A forensic examination of Van Matre’s computers revealed that he had created and stored 16 separate video files depicting the victim and two other minors in various states of undress.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned that Van Matre had been the subject of two separate investigations for sexually assaulting three prepubescent foster children over the course of six years.

This case was 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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