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Press Release

Ottawa County Man Sentenced To 38 Years In Federal Prison For Distributing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Matthew James Warne, 34, of Zeeland, Michigan, was sentenced to 38 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney for distributing and attempting to distribute child pornography.  Judge Maloney also ordered Warne to spend 10 years on supervised release after his confinement.  In imposing the sentence, Judge Maloney stated that Warne posed a “major risk to the public” and highlighted the seriousness of Warne’s conduct.  

          “Every day of this sentence against Mr. Warne is deserved, but it hardly begins to undo the harm against the innocent and vulnerable children who are the victim of this crime,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.  “Each image of child pornography that Warne possessed and distributed represents the sexual abuse of a real child. Our efforts to prosecute people who commit these crimes will continue and those who commit these types of crimes will face a similar fate.”

          Investigators originally responded to Warne’s workplace after a report of Warne inappropriately filming in a bathroom.  Police learned through further investigation that Warne shared thousands of images and videos of child pornography online.  Specifically, Warne used a social media application called Telegram to chat with other individuals about child pornography and send the images and videos.  Warne previously pleaded guilty on March 30, 2023.  Warne’s conviction followed his 2013 state conviction for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and his 2018 state conviction for criminal sexual conduct-assault with intent to commit sexual penetration.  Warne was on parole with the Michigan Department of Corrections when he distributed the child pornography.  

          “The significant sentence in this case underscores the importance of keeping innocent children safe from dangerous predators and serves as a warning to those individuals who prey upon the most vulnerable in our society,” said Devin J. Kowalski, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “Distributing child abuse images repeatedly victimizes a child and the FBI will dedicate resources to investigating anyone who commits crimes of this nature.” 

          This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutors’ offices, an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force, federal, state, and local law enforcement are working closely together to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children.  The partners in Project Safe Childhood work to educate local communities about the dangers of online child exploitation, and to teach children how to protect themselves.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit the following web site:

          The investigation of this matter was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.  Prosecution of this case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren F. Biksacky.

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Updated July 13, 2023

Project Safe Childhood