HAMPSTEAD, Md. (WJZ) — A 24-year-old Hampstead man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a federal charge of possession of child pornography, materials he acquired while on probation after a conviction of the same crime in the Circuit Court of Carroll County.

Matthew Curtis admitted that, between November 2019 and May 2020, he downloaded “depictions of prepubescent minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct” and distributed them on an online messaging app, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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An investigation revealed that Curtis would go into online chatrooms and pretend to be the mother of an infant or toddler to discuss the sexual abuse of his purported children. In some instances, other users expressed their desire to abuse those children and discussed past instances of abuse, federal prosecutors said.

In March 2020, an online server provider flagged 22 files of suspected child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to the plea agreement.

An IP address and email address associated with Curtis were used to access the server, federal prosecutors said.

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In May 2020, authorities searched Curtis’ home and found 429 images and 129 videos of child pornography.

Curtis was convicted of possession of child pornography in the Circuit Court of Carroll County in 2017 and sentenced to one year and six months in prison and three years of probation, federal prosecutors said.

If the court accepts Curtis’ guilty plea at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Oct. 22. He will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

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Upon release, Curtis must continue to register as a sex offender.

CBS Baltimore Staff