NewsLocal NewsSummit County

Actions

Cuyahoga Falls man pleads guilty to child porn charge, gets prison time

Gavel generic
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 20:51:50-05

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — A Cuyahoga Falls man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges last year.

Back in October 2020, Matthew Passalaqua, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt and distribution of visual depictions of real minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A federal judge sentenced him to six and half years in prison Friday.

Authorities say Passalaqua communicated with an undercover FBI agent he thought was a parent with a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.

According to the attorney’s office, Passalaqua used an online alias and “expressed interest” in talking about sexually explicit images of children and the agent’s purported children.

“Any person using the ‘anonymity' of the internet to prey upon our children is a danger to the entire community,” said Acting United States Attorney Bridget M. Brennan. “Every instance in which we identify and bring a child predator to justice should serve as a message to any other potential offender — our work continues, and we will ensure that those who commit crimes against children are held accountable.”

In days following that conversation, authorities say that Passalaqua sent the agent sexually explicit photos of real children as well as a photo of himself. The FBI tracked Passalaqua down and located him using his IP address. After being taken into custody, Passalaqua admitted to sending the photo and communicating with the agent.

"Possessing and distributing the sexually explicit photos of minors is incomprehensible,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Unfortunately, the peddlers and producers of these horrific images persist. Those who participate in this illegal trade should know the FBI and our law enforcement partners will never cease in our efforts to identify online child predators and ensure they are brought to justice for their unfathomable crimes against children."

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.