Cuyahoga Falls man sentenced to six and a half years for receipt and distribution of child pornography
Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced today that Matthew Passalaqua, age 52, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Christopher A. Boyko to 80 months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
“Any person using the ‘anonymity’ of the internet to prey upon our children is a danger to the entire community,” said Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Brennan. “Every instance in which we identify and bring a child predator to justice should serve as a message to any other potential offender - our work continues and we will ensure that those who commit crimes against children are held accountable.”
"Possessing and distributing the sexually explicit photos of minors is incomprehensible,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Unfortunately, the peddlers and producers of these horrific images persist. Those who participate in this illegal trade should know the FBI and our law enforcement partners will never cease in our efforts to identify online child predators and ensure they are brought to justice for their unfathomable crimes against children."
According to court records, in September of 2019, Passalaqua began an online conversation with an undercover FBI agent on a mobile communication application. Passalaqua, using an online alias, expressed interest in talking about sexually explicit pictures of children and the undercover agent’s purported ten-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter.
Throughout the course of several days, Passalaqua sent the undercover agent multiple videos and images depicting real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and a picture of himself. FBI agents identified Passalaqua through a series of subpoenas that produced the IP address and home address associated with his online username. On November 15, 2019, FBI agents contacted Passalaqua at his place of business and executed a search warrant for his person. Passalaqua agreed to an interview with the agents and confirmed that he had communicated with the undercover officer and sent the picture of himself.
Passalaqua pleaded guilty to one count of receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct in October of 2020.
This matter was investigated by the Cleveland Division of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carol M. Skutnik.