LOUISVILLE, KY. – Matthew Alexander Lyons, 34, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, was sentenced by United States District Judge David J. Hale yesterday to 25 years in prison followed by a life term of Supervised Release for multiple counts of online enticement of a minor, production of child pornography, sex trafficking of minors, and distribution and possession of child pornography, announced Acting United States Attorney Michael A. Bennett. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The defendant targeted and exploited vulnerable victims and will now spend more than two decades in federal prison and upon release be under close federal supervision for the rest of his life – a substantial sentence and strong message to others who consider engaging in similar conduct,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Bennett. “As a result of the outstanding work and dedication of AUSA Lawless, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, the Radcliff Police Department, the Elizabethtown Police Department, and the United States Secret Service, Kentucky kids are safer and our citizens once again well-served by the men and women of law enforcement.”
“We have no higher calling than to protect our children, and this sentence should send a message that the exploitation of our youngest citizens will not be tolerated in the Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Cameron. “Law enforcement at every level worked together to investigate and prosecute these heinous crimes, and I’m grateful for the unwavering commitment of Acting U.S. Attorney Bennett, our Department of Criminal Investigations Investigator Mike Littrell, the Elizabethtown and Radcliff Police Departments, and the U.S. Secret Service to pursue justice on behalf of the victims.”
According to the Plea Agreement and other Court documents, in April of 2020, the Radcliff Police Department received a call from a grandparent who reported that at least one minor was posting on social media about engaging in sexual activity with an adult in exchange for money. A Radcliff PD Detective interviewed two 14-year-old boys, seized their mobile devices, and was granted consent to search those devices by the minors’ legal guardians. Based on initial investigative steps, the Radcliff PD Detective identified Lyons as the adult with whom the two boys had engaged in sexual activity in exchange for money. Lyons had a prior conviction in 2008 in Hardin District Court case 08-F-00401 for attempted prohibited use of electronic communication system to procure a minor for sex, a violation of K.R.S. § 510.155(1). The Detective obtained and executed a Kentucky state search warrant to seize and search Lyons’s mobile device and subsequently asked for help with review of the devices from the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
A DCI Detective conducted a review of Lyons’s Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max. The DCI Detective found more than 1,500 image and video files that were identified as known child sexual abuse material stored in a pin-code protected application in a “Frequently Used” folder on Lyons’s iPhone’s main screen. The images were stored in more than 250 categorized folders.
Further examination of Lyons’s iPhone confirmed Lyons’ communication with at least one 14-year-old boy on a social media app. On or about April 1, 2020, Lyons traveled to a convenience store and met two 14-year-old boys. Lyons picked up the boys in his 2017 Chevrolet Silverado truck and drove them to a Dollar General parking lot where sex acts occurred, and videos were taken, in exchange for money.
During the review of Lyons’s iPhone, the DCI Detective also located a chat conversation from February 16, 2020, between Lyons and a 16-year-old boy. During the conversation, Lyons requested, and the boy sent, two photos and two videos of himself engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Another chat conversation between Lyons and an adult, Robert Alan Thompson, showed that Lyons sent Thompson two photos of actual minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and revealed the two men discussing their mutual sexual interest in boys.
Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless prosecuted the case. The Kentucky Office of Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations and Radcliff Police Department conducted the investigation, with assistance from the United States Secret Service and Elizabethtown Police Department.
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 Attorneys’ 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”