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Press Release

Former Potosi Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Child Sex Trafficking, Other Charges

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

ST. LOUIS – A former Potosi, Missouri police officer on Thursday admitted providing cash, vape cartridges and other items to three male minors for nude pictures or after performing sex acts on the victims.

Matthew N. Skaggs, 40, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp to three felony charges: sex trafficking, solicitation of child pornography and coercion and enticement of a minor.

In Thursday’s plea hearing, Skaggs admitted that between Jan. 1, 2022 and Aug. 10, 2022, he provided vape cartridges, alcohol, CBD and THC to a 13-year-old boy in exchange for nude pictures of the boy. Skaggs also gave the victim vape cartridges after groping him in a police vehicle at a kindergarten center while Skaggs was wearing his police uniform. Skaggs also gave the boy vape cartridges in a middle school boys’ bathroom. 

Skaggs repeatedly offered money to another boy when he was between the ages of 14 and 16 for sex, and asked for a received a picture of the boys’ genitals, his plea agreement says.

Skaggs also admitted performing a sex act on a third victim, aged 17, twice, and then providing money and alcohol to the minor. Between June 13, 202 and July 14, 2022, Skaggs paid the boy amounts ranging from $5 to $75 via Cash App. Skaggs also gave the boy cigarettes and vape pods. 

At the time of his arrest, Skaggs was attending training to become a school resource officer.

Skaggs is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 14, 2024.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than 300 months in prison. The sex trafficking and coercion charges are each punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life. The solicitation of child pornography charge carries a minimum five-year term and a maximum of life in prison. All also are punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.

Skaggs has also agreed to forfeit electronic devices including an iPad, two cell phones and storage devices.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson 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 www.justice.gov/psc.

Contact

Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer, robert.patrick@usdoj.gov.

Updated November 16, 2023

Topic
Project Safe Childhood