Baltimore Man, Matthew K. Walsh Admits Using Female Aliases on Social Media and Messaging Applications to Entice Boys to Send Him Sexually Explicit Images and Videos
Defendant Threatened to Send the Images to the Victims’ Friends and Families If They Didn’t Send More Sexually Explicit Images and Videos as Directed by Walsh
Matthew K. Walsh, age 24, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to sexual exploitation of a minor in order to produce child pornography. Specifically, Walsh admitted that he created fictitious online profiles purporting to be a minor female to contact and induce minor males between the ages of 12 and 17 to send sexually explicit images and videos the individual they believed to be a minor female, but was, in fact, Walsh.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, from at least 2016 through 2021, Walsh created fictitious profiles on several online platforms posing as a minor female to make contact with minor males between the ages of twelve and seventeen to induce them to produce sexually explicit images and videos to send to the purported minor female.
Once Walsh obtained the sexually explicit images and videos, he extorted the minor males into producing more sexually explicit images and videos at his instruction and threatened that if they failed to do so, Walsh would send the previously provided images and videos to the minor victims’ friends, family, and classmates. Walsh directed the minor males to send him the images and videos he directed them to produce, and that the images and videos needed to include their face.
In some of the communications, by text, email, and video, the minor victims are crying and begging Walsh not to send the images and videos to their families and classmates, to leave them alone, and not to make them do more, but Walsh persisted with his threats and demands. Walsh admitted that he harassed some of the victims for years and obtained hundreds of files depicting sexually explicit conduct from some of the victims. In total, Walsh obtained approximately 2000 images and videos depicting sexually explicit conduct of the various minor males.
As detailed in the plea agreement, once Walsh received the sexually explicit files from the victims, he saved them into folders of fake names or a variation of the victim’s real name in a cloud storage account. Walsh also uploaded the minor males’ files to various Twitter accounts and sold the sexually explicit files of the minors to others, obtaining approximately $8000 from the sale of the files. Specifically, Walsh communicated with at least 50 different Twitter users interested in purchasing either individual files of child sex abuse material (CSAM), or Walsh’s “collections” of CSAM.
The “collections” contained over 100 different victims’ files. In several messages, the Twitter users were aware that some of the individuals in the sexually explicit files were as young as 14-years-old. Several Twitter users exchanged “tips” with Walsh on how to evade law enforcement and discussed methods for enticing and extorting victims’ nude images and videos. Walsh was also a member of online groups which included other offenders who would post, sell, and trade CSAM.
During the investigation, federal search warrants were executed on 17 Google accounts, 22 Twitter accounts, 4 Facebook accounts, 7 Instagram accounts, 6 Snap accounts, 3 Dropbox accounts, 3 TextNow accounts, a Kik account, an Apple account, and an Oath/Yahoo! account, all created and utilized by Walsh. To date over 40 minor males have been positively identified as victims of Walsh’s conduct. At least 30 victims’ pictures and videos were sold and/or distributed to others by Walsh.
Walsh faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for production of child pornography. As required by his plea agreement, Walsh will make full restitution to all minor victims of his offenses as to all counts charged, whether or not he has entered a guilty plea to those counts. As a consequence of Walsh’s conviction, upon his release from prison, Walsh will be required to register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, is an employee, and is a student, pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for November 4, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation and thanked the Noblesville, Indiana Police Department for its assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Paul E. Budlow, who are prosecuting the federal case.