Man convicted for accessing child porn

PARKERSBURG – A Wood County man accused of accessing child pornography and trying to persuade someone to destroy the evidence was convicted on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Huntington, the U.S. attorney said.

Matthew John Wiggins, 41, of Parkersburg was convicted of both charges in a two-day trial before Chief Judge Robert C. Chambers, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said.

Chambers found Wiggins knowingly accessed child pornography with intent to view it while he was logged on to a computer on Jan. 16-17, 2013, at the Parkersburg and Wood County Library. Chambers also found that on the eve of trial, Wiggins sent a letter attempting to persuade that person to destroy a library card Wiggins knew would be important evidence in his trial.

The investigation 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, Goodwin said.

He was able to trace the IP address to a computer on the main floor of the library. The security officer reported the illegal activity to the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Goodwin said.

On Jan. 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 Jan. 16 and 17, Goodwin said.

A forensic examination performed on that computer revealed that Wiggins accessed, with intent to view, more than 50 images of child pornography, Goodwin said.

Wiggins was previously convicted in federal court in the Southern District of West Virginia in 2000 for 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, Goodwin said.

At that time, Wiggins admitted to using software designed to delete data on the computer he had at his residence, Goodwin said. During Wiggins’ second term of supervised release, he was caught viewing pictures of naked young females on a computer located at the library of West Virginia University at Parkersburg and was sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months.

Wiggins faces a minimum mandatory 10 years’ and up to 40 years’ imprisonment, as well as a lifetime of supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 7 in Huntington, Goodwin said.

The investigation 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 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.