FEDS link Elma NY man to child victim with tech.

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Facial recognition technology used to tie Elma, NY man to child exploitation after Australian tip. Matthew A. Steele, 53, arrested for production and distribution of child pornography. Steele was found to possess images of a child victim identified by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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In a recent case announced by U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross, Matthew A. Steele, a 53-year-old resident of Elma, NY, has been arrested and charged with production and distribution of child pornography. The charges against Steele carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years.

The case originated from a referral received by the Department of Homeland Security Cyber Crimes Center in January 2023 from the Queensland Police Service in Australia. This referral included 47 images depicting the sexual exploitation of an early pubescent female victim, referred to as Victim 1. After a visual analysis of the images in September 2023, HSI was able to determine that the photos were created in March 2013 and were taken using a specific camera serial number.

HSI agents were then able to identify and locate Victim 1 by executing a search warrant at Steele’s residence in Elma. During the search, agents discovered several photographs of Victim 1 as a child in various rooms of the house. They also found the camera used to capture the images, confirming Steele’s ties to the exploitation material.

Following the search and investigation, Steele appeared in a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was ordered to be detained. The case is a result of collaborative efforts between Homeland Security Investigations and the Great Falls, Montana Police Department.

It’s important to note that the fact that Steele has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This case underscores the vital role of technology, such as facial recognition, in identifying and prosecuting individuals involved in child exploitation and pornography.

The arrest of Steele serves as a reminder of the critical work done by law enforcement agencies in combating these heinous crimes and seeking justice for the victims involved.

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