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Press Release

Des Moines Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Child Pornography Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, IA – A Des Moines man was sentenced Wednesday, September 6, 2023, to six years in prison following his guilty plea to receipt of child pornography.

According to court documents, over the course of several months in 2022, Matthew John Marcalus, 55, used Instagram to communicate with a fifteen-year-old child. During these conversations, Marcalus engaged in sexually explicit chats, and solicited and received photos of the child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Marcalus also sent the child photos of Marcalus’s genitals. Eventually, law enforcement became involved and communicated with Marcalus while posing as the fifteen-year-old child. Officers arrested Marcalus when he arrived at a location to meet the child.

Following his prison term, Marcalus must also serve a ten-year term of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. The Ankeny Police Department, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Leemkuil prosecuted the case.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


MacKenzie Tubbs
Public Information Officer 

Updated September 8, 2023

Project Safe Childhood