Former Newark High School Faculty Member Pleads Guilty To Production And Possession Of Child Pornography, Faces Up To 50 Years In Prison
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Matthew Holland, 29, of Newark, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa to production of child pornography and possession of child pornography involving prepubescent minors. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum penalty of 50 years, lifetime supervised release, and a $500,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who is handling the case, stated that between 2016 and 2020, the defendant, who was formerly employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Newark, NY, Central School District, and a teacher/assistant at the Canandaigua, NY, YMCA, engaged in a series of child exploitation and child pornography crimes, including coercing minors both known and unknown to him to produce child pornography via social media; surreptitiously recording minors in states of undress in their homes, surreptitiously recording minors in states of undress at a YMCA where he was employed, surreptitiously recording minors and others in states of undress at his Newark photography studio “Illumination Images,” and downloading and possessing hundreds of images and videos of pre-existing child pornography via the internet.
The defendant posed as a 14-16 year-old male and used the Snapchat account “Tjohnson755” and the Instagram account “TimJ755,” to engage minors in sexually explicit conversations. Holland would begin in neutral conversation, then would send pictures of an attractive teenaged boy, before transitioning the conversation to sexual topics and demanding that the minors produce and send to him nude or semi-nude photographs – to include the minors’ faces. The defendant often played upon his victims’ insecurities, paying them compliments and promising that he would delete their photos and would not share them. In some cases, once he obtained nude or semi-nude photographs, Holland would ask for more sexually explicit photographs involving sex acts. If a minor declined, the defendant threatened to share their previous images over the Internet. Since the defendant knew many of the minors through his employment with the Newark Central School District, he sometimes made specific threats involving the minors actual addresses, relatives, and schools, causing the minors, most of whom were 13 to 16 years old, to suffer extreme anxiety and fear.
The defendant’s conduct was first discovered when a minor victim in Virginia reported to police that Holland had coerced her into sending him sexually explicit photographs and videos. An investigation by the Loudoun County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office led to the discovery of dozens of victims in the Western District of New York, and coordination with the Newark Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, the Canandaigua Police Department, and the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to coercing minors to produce child pornography via social media and the internet, Holland also engaged in the following conduct:
• Between October 2019, and February 14, 2020, while employed as a teacher/assistant at the before and after school childcare program at the Canandaigua YMCA, the defendant was responsible for supervising children 3 to 12 years old. On at least one occasion, Holland entered the family locker room and photographed approximately 5 female children in his care as they were changing out of their swimsuits after swimming in the YMCA pool.
• Between February 18, 2019, and February 20, 2020, Holland surreptitiously recorded a 10-11 year-old girl in various stages of undress in the bathroom of her home in Newark.
• On April 17, 2016, the defendant surreptitiously recorded a 10 year-old female in various stages of undress in the bathroom of her home in Marion, NY.
• Prior to his arrest in May 2020, Holland was also the owner and operator of Illumination Images located in Newark. Using this business, the defendant surreptitiously recorded minors in various states of undress by placing a hidden recording device inside of the studio changing room.
The defendant also possessed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography that he obtained via the Internet, including images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of prepubescent minors, to include toddlers, and children being subjected to violence.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Loudoun County, VA, Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Michael L. Chapman; the Newark, NY Police Department, under the direction of Chief Mark Thoms; the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Berry Virts; the Canandaigua, NY Police Department, under the direction of Chief Stephen Hedworth; and Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 17, 2021, at 9:15 a.m., before Judge Siragusa.
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