Former Potosi police officer sentenced to 25 years in prison for child sex trafficking

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 U.S. District Judge Matthew T. Schelp on Wednesday sentenced a former Potosi, Missouri police officer to 25 years in prison for soliciting sexual acts and nude pictures in exchange for cash, vape cartridges and other items from three male minors.

In 2022, Matthew N. Skaggs, now 40, made contact with three minors via social media applications such as Snapchat and through his position as a police officer. Skaggs made the acquaintance of one victim by asking the minor if he wanted to participate in a police ride-along program in Skaggs’s patrol vehicle. Skaggs encountered another minor victim by offering to assist him to get out of some minor legal trouble. The minor victims reported being afraid to report or refuse Skaggs. Skaggs’s crimes came to light when one of the minor victims disclosed Skaggs’s actions to his mother.

At the time of his arrest, Skaggs was attending training to become a school resource officer.

In a letter to Judge Schelp, the mother of one of Skaggs’ victims said because her son’s abuser was a police officer, he did not feel like he could tell anyone what happened, “because he knew if he called for help that you would be the officer that was sent.” Skaggs, she wrote, began grooming her son when he was 12. Skaggs “played the part of a great police officer that would protect and guide these boys and then completely betrayed that trust.” She went on to add, “He was scared that you would come to our home or his father’s home and take him. He was scared that you would harm his family.”

Skaggs pleaded in November to three felony charges: sex trafficking, solicitation of child pornography and coercion and enticement of a minor.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson is prosecuting the case.

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