Following an investigation launched by the Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office, a former high school teaching assistant from Newark, NY now faces federal child pornography charges.
Matthew Holland, 28 of Newark, NY, was initially charged in June by Loudoun investigators who were following leads on a complaint that a 14-year-old Loudoun girl had been solicited by a Snapchat user to send sexually explicit photos.
According to the complaint, on March 9, the Sheriff’s Office received a report that Snapchat user “Tjohnson755,” later identified as Holland, had engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the victim and coerced her into sending him nude photographs. When the victim indicated that she did not wish to continue communicating, the defendant threatened to disseminate the photographs over the internet. Using this and other threats, Holland coerced the minor to continue to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos.
Loudoun detectives executed a search warrant on Holland’s “Tjohnson755” Snapchat account, and using IP information, located his residence in Newark, NY. While analyzing the Snapchat account, investigators identified dozens of similar conversations with other suspected minors.
On March 9, with assistance from the Newark Police Department and the Wayne County (NY) Sheriff’s Office, Loudoun investigators executed a search warrant at Holland’s home. A preliminary forensic analysis of seized computers and other digital items revealed hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, including child pornography depicting prepubescent minors, and child pornography that Holland produced from known and unknown minors using his “Tjohnson755” Snapchat account. During the execution of the search warrant, Holland indicated to investigators that he operated Illumination Images on W. Union Street in Newark, NY, where he had hidden cameras in the dressing room to record customers, including minors, in various stages of undress, according to a summary of the case released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Holland was arrested and extradited to Loudoun and held without bond pending trial.
With the filing of federal charges on Monday, the local charges were dropped and Holland was turned over to federal authorities. He made an initial appearance in United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia will be transported to the Western District of New York for trial.
Holland is charged with the production, receipt, and possession of child pornography, and online enticement of a minor. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum penalty of life, and a $250,000 fine.
According to the federal complaint, Holland recently resigned as a faculty member at Newark High School. He also previously worked at the YMCA in Canandaigua, NY, and is believed to have surreptitiously recorded individuals at that location.
Anyone with information concerning Matthew Holland, Illumination Images, or Snapchat User “Tjohnson755,” is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations at (716) 464-6070 or via email at [email protected].
“As an educator and photographer, the defendant not only had access to children but occupied a position of trust with respect to them,” U.S. Attorney James F. Kennedy Jr. stated. “However, as reflected in the allegations set forth in the criminal complaint, his cruel and unrelenting betrayal of that trust is every parent’s nightmare. This case serves as a sobering reminder that we must remain vigilant in our effort to educate our children to the dangers they face and to pay attention to their online activities. Too often children lack the real world experience needed to discern the dangers lurking in the virtual world.”