FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Southwest High School teacher in Fort Worth remains in federal custody following his arrest Friday on a federal complaint for receiving child pornography.
This arrest was announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This case is being investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Tarrant County (Texas) District Attorney’s Office, the Macomb County (Michigan) Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastpointe (Michigan) Police Department.
Matthew Anthony Keller, 24, of Watauga, Texas, made his initial appearance in federal court July 5 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton, who ordered that he remain in custody pending a detention hearing set for July 6.
According to the just-unsealed complaint, the investigation began last month when the parents of a 15-year-old male (MV1) notified a police department in Macomb County that they had discovered a relationship between their son and Keller. The parent advised that Keller was a 24-year-old high school teacher and a youth pastor who exchanged nude photos and videos with MV1 for about 18 months. The parent was further concerned because it was discovered that Keller planned to fly from Texas to Michigan and possibly meet with MV1 for a sexual encounter.
As the investigation progressed, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office learned that Keller met the minor victim, who first advised him he was 18-years-old and then later admitted he was 13-years-old, on a website about two years ago. When a search warrant was conducted at Keller’s residence in Watauga, law enforcement seized a computer from his bedroom. A forensic analysis of that computer revealed a nude, sexually explicit video of the minor victim.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The maximum statutory penalty for the offense as charged is not less than five years or up to 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
Anyone who may have been victimized in this case is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at its toll-free number: 1-866-347-2423.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 14,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 2,400 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.