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Press Release

Former Ottumwa and Des Moines Man Sentenced to 15 ½ Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children

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

DES MOINES, IA – On November 16, 2021, United States District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose sentenced Matthew Eric Mason, age 26, formerly of Ottumwa and Des Moines, to 188 months in prison for Receipt of Child Pornography announced United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal. Mason pleaded guilty to the offense on August 25, 2021. Following completion of his prison term, Mason will be required to register as a sex offender and will be on supervised release for ten additional years.

According to court documents, Mason began communicating with multiple minor boys in 2019 while playing online video games. Multiple times in early February 2019, Mason knowingly persuaded and enticed a 13-year-old boy, who resided in New Hampshire, to take “selfie” photographs of that boy’s genitals and send the photos to Mason via an online application. The boy did so. Mason knew that the boy was 13-years old when Mason used the boy to create and send the photographs. In the summer of 2019, Mason knowingly persuaded and enticed a 12-year-old boy, who resided in Maryland, to take a photo of the boy’s genitals and send the photo to Mason via text message. The boy did so. Mason knew the child was in middle school when Mason used the boy to create the photograph. Police searched Mason’s Des Moines apartment in November 2019 and discovered several electronic devices that contained dozens of videos of child pornography depicting adolescent boys.

This case was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Nashua (New Hampshire) Police Department, Ottumwa Police Department, Wapello County Attorney’s Office, and the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as part of the United States Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Childhood” initiative, which was started in 2006 as a nationwide effort to combine law enforcement investigations and prosecutions, community action, and public awareness in order to reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation of children. Any persons having knowledge of a child being sexually abused are encouraged to call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline at 1-800-284-7821.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated December 17, 2021

Project Safe Childhood