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Press Release

Licking County man sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually exploiting minor boys he met through church youth group

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Licking County man was sentenced in federal court here today to 25 years in prison for sexually exploiting minors and soliciting child pornography from dozens of other minor boys through the mobile application Snapchat.

Matthew I Reif, 27, of Newark, Ohio, victimized at least 52 minor boys, some of whom he had access to through his role in a local youth church group. The exploitation of these minor males took place both in the community and online between October 2020 and July 2022.

“Reif exploited his victims’ vulnerabilities through their religion, their financial limitations and their youth for his own perverted fantasies,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “For the well-being of those children whom he has already harmed, and to prevent the mental, psychological or physical damage to any additional children, Reif must be kept away from society for a significant period of time.”

According to court documents, Reif offered gifts and money to minor boys and, in exchange, requested the minors engage in sex acts with him or for him. Reif used text messaging and Snapchat to communicate with his victims, some of whom he only had access to online and had not met in person. The defendant would pose as a female named “Nicole” via Snapchat to obtain child sexual abuse material from the minor males. Twelve of the identified victims in this case indicated they sent photos or videos to Reif on Snapchat when they were between 14 and 17 years old, believing Reif to be a female. 

The defendant also contacted minor males he knew from the community, posing as himself and garnering their trust through his position in a Heath, Ohio, church. Reif would then screen record any pornographic content he received from the minors via Snapchat. In addition, Reif was trusted with some of the victims on overnight stays, during which he surreptitiously recorded the victims with a hidden camera that he placed in different bathrooms. Reif saved the images and videos he created and obtained and then organized the content by the name of the male minor depicted.

Reif pleaded guilty in December 2022 to sexually exploiting minors and possessing child pornography.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Czerniejewski and Noah R. Litton are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated July 12, 2023

Project Safe Childhood