CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell sentenced Darren Eugene Matthews, 46, of Conover, N.C. to 78 months in prison yesterday on child pornography charges, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Matthews was also ordered to serve a lifetime of supervised release and to register as a sex offender upon completion of his prison term.
Sheriff Donald G. Brown II of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office joins U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and information introduced at the sentencing hearing, in November 2019, a detective with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office received information that an individual, later identified as Matthews, was emailing child pornography over the internet. Court records show that some of the images depicted children, some as young as toddlers, being sexually abused. On November 22, 2019, Law enforcement executed a search warrant at Matthews’ residence and seized numerous electronic devices. A forensic examination of the devices revealed that Matthews possessed more than 1,300 files of child pornography.
In August 2020, Matthews pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Murray commended the investigative work of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alfredo De La Rosa of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.