A former Potosi police officer appeared in federal court April 6 to face charges of sex trafficking, solicitation of child pornography and coercion and enticement of a minor, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Missouri.
Matthew N. Skaggs, 39, was indicted March 29 and arrested Wednesday. The indictment alleges that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 10 of 2022, Skaggs enticed or solicited three minors into engaging in a commercial sex act, solicited a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and attempted to persuade a minor to engage in sexual acts.
A motion seeking to have Skaggs held in jail until trial says he gave vape cartridges to one minor in exchange for pornographic images, paid another via CashApp not to reveal sexual abuse and sexually abused a third minor. Skaggs met the alleged victims through his work as a police officer or committed sex acts while on duty or in uniform, the detention motion says.
Anyone who believes they are a victim or has information about other offenses is asked to call the Missouri Highway Patrol at 573-751-3313.
The sex trafficking and coercion charges are each punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life. The solicitation of child pornography charge carries a minimum five-year term and a maximum of life in prison. All also are punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson is prosecuting the case.
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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.
More information about Project Safe Childhood can be found at www.justice.gov/psc.