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Press Release

Dunklin County, Missouri Man Admits Recording Child Sexual Abuse

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

CAPE GIRARDEAU – A man from Dunklin County, Missouri on Wednesday admitted recording his sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl and recording other children in the shower.

Matthew A. Prewett, 43, of Kennett, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp to a felony charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. He admitted engaging in sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl beginning in April of 2022. The Kennett Police Department received notification on May 3, 2002, that the victim was at a hospital in St. Louis for a sexual assault examination after the victim’s mother found sexually suggestive text messages from Prewett on her daughter’s phone. Prewett had recorded his crimes on video.

The next day, law enforcement arrested Prewett following a traffic stop in Dunklin County. An investigation revealed that Prewett had placed hidden cameras in his home, including one in the bathroom. Prewett recorded children between ages 12 and 17 in the bathroom, while they were nude and showering.

Prewett is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21, 2024. The sexual exploitation of a minor charge is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from the mandatory minimum of 15 years up to life in prison. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend 20 years. 

The case was investigated by the Kennett Police Department and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Hunter is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated November 22, 2023

Project Safe Childhood