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Press Release

Jefferson County Man Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison on Child Pornography Charge

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

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on Wednesday sentenced a man from Jefferson County, Missouri to seven years in prison on a child pornography charge and ordered him to pay $57,000 to victims.

Matthew Thilges, 60, pleaded guilty June 7, 2023, to one count of receipt of child pornography. He admitted possessing images containing child sexual abuse on his cell phone and computer.

The investigation began after Thilges made a series of threats to kill employees of tech companies, including YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter, his plea agreement says. In the beginning of October 2020, Thilges began threatening law enforcement and children. A court-authorized search of Thilges’ home near House Springs, Missouri later that month found electronic devices, a child-like sex doll, eight assault rifles, one handgun and ammunition. Investigators found over 10,000 images containing child pornography on Thilges’ cell phone and computer and concerning images he had taken of a minor child in his home.

Judge Fleissig on Wednesday overruled Thilges’ objections to paying restitution to the victims who have been identified in the images and videos that he possessed. Those victims were notified about Thilges’ possession of the images and his criminal charge, and 17 victims requested restitution to compensate them for mental health treatment and other medical services, as well as other expenses and losses.

The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Lang prosecuted 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

Updated September 20, 2023

Project Safe Childhood