Twin Carroll County Sex Offenders Each Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Possession of Child Pornography
Matthew Curtis Possessed more than 550 Images and Videos of Child Pornography and Pretended to be a Mother in Online Web Chats; Tyler Curtis Possessed Than 300 Images and Videos of Child Pornography
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander today sentenced Matthew Curtis and Tyler Curtis, ages 24, both of Hampstead, Maryland, each to 10 years in federal prison, followed by 18 years and 17 years of supervised release, respectively, for possession of child pornography. Judge Hollander ordered that, upon their release from prison, the defendants must continue to register as sex offenders in the places where they reside, where they are employees, and where they are students, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The twin brothers were previously convicted of child pornography-related charges in 2017 within the Circuit Court of Carroll County. Specifically, Tyler Curtis was previously convicted of the promotion and distribution of child pornography and was subsequently required to register as a sex offender. Matthew Curtis was convicted of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to one year and six months in prison and three years’ probation. He then was required to register as a sex offender.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Carroll County Sheriff James DeWees, and Frederick County Sheriff Charles A. “Chuck” Jenkins.
“Thankfully, the Curtis brothers will spend the next decade in federal prison for their extensive and disturbing conduct.” stated United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron. “This office will continue to aggressively protect our children and relentlessly prosecute those who perpetuate child exploitation.”
According to their plea agreements, from 2019 to 2020, Tyler and Matthew Curtis downloaded, possessed, and distributed child pornography while on state probation for their previous convictions for child pornography related charges. Furthermore, Matthew Curtis used an internet-based messaging application to repeatedly share depictions of prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct with other users of the application.
On March 5, 2020, the cloud-based service submitted a CyberTip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Specifically, the service reported that a user account had uploaded 22 files of suspected child pornography. Images included the sexual abuse of prepubescent children. The IP address used to login to the cloud-based application was assigned to the defendants’ Hampstead residence and the email address was an address used by Matthew Curtis.
The investigation revealed that within messaging chatrooms, Matthew Curtis frequently posed as the mother of an infant or toddler and discussed the sexual abuse of his purported children. Matthew Curtis also distributed images documenting the sexual abuse of what he claimed were his children. Matthew Curtis and other online users frequently discussed their sexual abuse of children and their desire to abuse Curtis’s purported children.
As stated in their plea agreements, on May 28, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at the Curtis’s residence and seized electronic devices, including two of Matthew Curtis’s cell phones. A forensic review of Matthew’s cell phones revealed a total of 429 images and 129 videos of child pornography. Some of the images and videos depicted prepubescent minors and sado-masochistic conduct.
During an interview with law enforcement, Tyler Curtis falsely informed investigators that he had not viewed child pornography since his 2017 conviction and that he did not have a cell phone in his possession. As a result of the search warrant, law enforcement seized a cell phone that was hidden in the bottom of Tyler Curtis’s bedroom dresser.
A forensic review of Tyler Curtis’s hidden cell phone revealed artifacts associated with at least 13 different email addresses. Investigators also discovered 115 images and 137 videos of child pornography on Curtis’s cell phone. The sexually abusive material contained sado-masochistic content as well as images of prepubescent females engaged in sexual acts with adult men, including at least two videos that depicted the sexual abuse of an infant or toddler. A forensic review of Tyler Curtis’s file storage and hosting service account revealed that he uploaded 185 images and 10 videos of child pornography to the service.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended HSI, the Maryland State Police, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who prosecuted the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-childhood and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
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