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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 9, 2022

Springfield, Illinois, Man Sentenced to 96 months in Prison for Attempted Enticement of a Minor and Use of Interstate Facilities to Attempt to Transmit Information about a Minor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Springfield, Illinois, man, Matthew Wetzel, 37, of the 800 block of East Edward Street, was sentenced on May 5, 2022, to 96 months in prison for attempted enticement of a minor and use of interstate facilities to attempt to transmit information about a minor.

At the sentencing hearing before United States District Judge Sue Myerscough, the government presented evidence that on or about August 27 and August 28, 2020, Wetzel knowingly attempted to persuade, induce, and entice an individual whom he believed had not attained the age of 18 years to engage in sexual activity. On those same dates, Wetzel also knowingly used a facility and means of interstate commerce, the internet and a cellular telephone, with the intent to transmit the name and address of another individual who had not attained the age of 16, and he did so with the intent to entice, encourage, offer, and solicit that person to engage in sexual activity.

Wetzel was indicted in September 2020 and pleaded guilty in November 2021. He was taken into the custody of the United States Marshals after the sentencing hearing.

The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office, with the assistance of the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; the Springfield Police Department; and the Illinois State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanner K. Jacobs represented the government in the prosecution.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative by the Department of Justice to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Updated May 10, 2022