Parkersburg Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years in Federal Prison for Accessing Child Pornography on a Library Computer
HUNTINGTON, WV—Matthew John Wiggins, a 41-year old Wood County resident, was sentenced today to 17 ½ years in federal prison followed by a life term of supervised release, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Wiggins’ sentence follows his conviction last March for accessing child pornography with intent to view it and attempting to persuade a person to destroy evidence. The sentence was imposed by Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers.
Following a bench trial in March of 2014, Wiggins was found guilty of knowingly accessing child pornography with intent to view it while he was logged on to a computer located at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library on January 16 and 17, 2013. Chief Judge Chambers also found that on the eve of trial, Wiggins sent a letter to a person attempting to persuade that person to destroy a library card that Wiggins knew would be important evidence in his trial.
“Criminals who seek out child pornography are supporting and sustaining the exploitation of children,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “It’s heartbreaking to think of the children whose innocence was stolen to entertain people like this defendant. I applaud the tough sentence that Chief Judge Chambers handed down. It should send a powerful message.”
In imposing today’s sentence, Chief Judge Chambers praised the diligent and efficient police work that led to Wiggins’ arrest. The investigation of Wiggins began when an Information Security Officer with the West Virginia Office of Information Security and Controls, an agency that monitors state computers for illegal activity, discovered that someone at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library was downloading child pornography images on a library computer on January 16 and 17, 2013. The Office of Information Security and Controls was able to trace the Internet protocol (IP) address to a computer that was located on the main floor of the library. The Information Security Officer reported the illegal activity to the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
On January 17, 2013, a member of the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and two Parkersburg Police Department detectives went to the library and found Wiggins sitting at the computer on which he had downloaded child pornography on January 16 and 17. A forensic examination performed on that computer revealed that Wiggins accessed, with intent to view, 324 images of child pornography. Some of the images depict minors engaged in sadistic and masochistic conduct or other acts of violence.
Wiggins was previously convicted in federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia in 2000 of knowingly possessing child pornography and was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment. Within 11 days of being released from prison, he was found to be in possession of a computer in violation of the terms and conditions of his supervised release. At that time, Wiggins admitted to using software designed to delete data on the computer he had at his residence. During Wiggins’ second term of supervised release, he was caught viewing pictures of naked young females on a computer located at the West Virginia University Parkersburg library and was sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months.
The investigation of Wiggins was conducted by the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, with the assistance of the West Virginia Office of Information Security and Controls, the Parkersburg Police Department, the West Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Lisa Johnston and Jennifer Rada Herrald were in charge of the prosecution.
This case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.