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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Inland Empire Man Indicted in Sexual Exploitation Case for Targeting Children, One of Whom He Met in Online Gaming Platform

          RIVERSIDE, California – A federal grand jury this afternoon returned an indictment charging a Hemet man with sexual exploitation offenses alleging he convinced a preteen girl to send him sexually explicit photos of herself and a younger relative.

          John Mathew Piecuch, 61, was named in a three-count indictment that charges him with attempted enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, production of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography.

          Piecuch posed as a 13-year-old boy on an online gaming platform, where he met a 12-year-old girl in late 2020, according to court documents. After moving their conversation to a text message system, Piecuch requested sexually explicit photos from the girl, who also sent sexually explicit photos of a 5-year-old relative, according to a criminal complaint filed earlier this month.

          The mother of the 12-year-old girl saw some of the text messages between her daughter and Piecuch on one of the girl’s mobile devices, which prompted her to contact authorities, the complaint states.

          Special agents with the FBI arrested Piecuch on August 4 pursuant to the criminal complaint. At his first court appearance that afternoon, he was ordered jailed without bond pending trial.

          Piecuch is scheduled to be arraigned in this matter on August 24 in United States District Court in Riverside.

          An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

          If he were convicted of the three counts in the indictment, Piecuch would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison. Each of the three charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence, with the mandatory minimum sentence for production of child pornography being the longest at 15 years in prison.

          The FBI is conducting the investigation in this matter in conjunction with the Carroll County (Maryland) Sheriff’s Office.

          Assistant United States Attorney Sonah Lee of the Riverside Branch Office is prosecuting this case.

Contact: 
Thom Mrozek Director of Media Relations United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov (213) 894-6947
Press Release Number: 
21-164
Updated August 18, 2021