Souderton, PA — A former Army veteran and police officer was convicted on multiple counts for being a distributor and possessing over 4,000 images of the most disturbing child pornography. Matthew Laver, 38, of Souderton, PA was violating the laws he was sworn to uphold while taking a paycheck as a law enforcement officer. On Thursday, this disgusting villain was sentenced to 12 years in prison. While it may not seem like a very long sentence, it is a significant amount of time considering most cops in his position do little to no time behind bars.
"This is an appalling case," U.S. Attorney William McSwain said in a statement. "The defendant was a member of a law enforcement organization charged with enforcing the law and protecting the public, but he was actually a child predator."
Even though Laver had quit the police force in Montgomery County three years before being arrested and convicted, prosecutors were quick to point out his addiction to kiddie porn dated back to his time in the Army and throughout his service as a law enforcement officer.
Laver’s child porn stash was located on his phone, his external hard drive as well as his computer. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eileen Castillo Zelek stated in court filings:
While responsible for enforcing the law, Laver himself was flagrantly violating it, and preying upon the most vulnerable of victims — young children.
Some of those children were infants who were sexually exploited on film for Laver’s pleasure and distribution. It’s unclear at this point to whom the former soldier and police officer was sharing his horrific content. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams stated:
The harm caused by child exploitation is devastating and long-lasting, which is why we prosecute these cases aggressively...In this case, the conduct was particularly egregious because the defendant was a member of a law enforcement organization charged with enforcing the law. We stand ready with our federal and local partners to identify and prosecute all those who would prey upon minor children.
The prosecution is a result of the collaborative work of many agencies as a part of Project Safe Childhood. Marlon V. Miller, Special Agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia said:
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Law enforcement officers take an oath to serve and protect, thus our conduct must be beyond reproach...Homeland Security Investigations special agents worked closely with our law enforcement partners to further prevent this perpetrator from victimizing children by distributing images of sexual assault.
While he was a police officer, Laver spent 10 years online disseminating his collection of horrifying child porn which depicted sexual assault and rape of children as young as infants. According to MDJonline:
The initial investigation of Laver began in September 2018 when Bucks County authorities shared information with Montgomery County detectives about child pornography allegedly being downloaded from a computer at Laver’s home.
On July 30 into July 31, investigators using a file-sharing program connected to Laver’s computer and downloaded nine files containing child pornography, Beaghley alleged in the original criminal complaint. All of the files contained videos or images depicting children under 18 engaged in sexual acts or poses, according to the arrest affidavit.
Laver also admitted to investigators he had engaged in masturbation while watching child porn. He originally faced a minimum five-year sentence plus an additional 15 years in prison and ended up getting just over half of it.
While a police officer engaging in the viewing and dissemination of child porn may seem shocking, the fact is that it happens all the time within the government. As TFTP reported in July, the problem of government agents viewing horrific images and videos of child pornography on official Department of Defense computers has gotten so out of hand that bipartisan legislation has been introduced to curb the practice. Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) introduced legislation meant to halt the epidemic of government employees viewing and sharing child porn over DOD networks and devices.
According to a report in the Hill, the End National Defense Network Abuse (END Network Abuse) was introduced in the wake of in an investigation called “Project Flicker” carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This investigation identified over 5,000 individuals, including many affiliated with DOD, who were subscribed to child porn websites.
The investigation was conducted by the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service and it netted hundreds of suspects who work for and are affiliated with the DOD. Let that sink in. Hundreds of government employees are using taxpayer funded official DOD networks and computers to view and share child pornography -- essentially running a child porn network on a government system.
The epidemic of child pornography has gotten so out of control that these people now feel comfortable enough to use official computers and networks -- they know are being monitored, but apparently know they won't get in trouble -- to access and share this horrifying content.