Offender accused of trying to make child porn

Published May 22, 2007

TAMPA - Samuel D. Matthews was first arrested on charges of sexually abusing young children in 1983.

Nearly 24 years and two convictions later, he faces charges again, this time for attempting to produce child pornography.

Matthews, 53, a registered sex offender from Brandon who was on supervised release, is the subject of a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court. According to the complaint, he attempted to pay an undercover agent to allow him to take pornographic pictures of her 11-year-old daughter.

Because of his prior convictions, Matthews could get a minimum mandatory sentence of 35 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation began May 9, after a probation officer contacted a member of the FBI Innocent Images Task Force and said Matthews was soliciting people to take nude pictures of a child in lewd positions.

Another convicted sex offender told authorities Matthews asked him to find a young girl. The offender agreed to allow agents to listen to his telephone conversations with Matthews, in which he discussed taking sexually explicit photos.

Later, an undercover member of the task force contacted Matthews and offered to let him take pictures of her 11-year-old daughter.

Matthews asked the agent to send him pictures of the girl and arranged a meeting. He also asked the agent for her daughter's clothing size so he could "buy clothing and hair accessories for the child to wear during some of the photographs, " the complaint said.

The undercover agent agreed to meet with Matthews Thursday at a McDonald's on Adamo Drive, where agents from the FBI and Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested him.

A search of his car yielded five cameras, a book on how to photograph children and a pair of child's underwear, the complaint said.

This is the third time Matthews has been accused of sexual crimes relating to children. In 1983, he pleaded guilty to sexual battery on a child under 11 and lewd and lascivious assault. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Matthews was arrested again in 1999 and charged with using a computer to receive and distribute child pornography. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison and 37 months of supervised release.

He was sentenced to an additional 11 months in prison and two years of supervised release in 2004 after violating his probation, according to court records.

Carrie Weimar can be reached at 813 226-3416 or cweimar@sptimes.com.