WASHINGTON –Matthew Stitt-Johnson, 31, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of second-degree child sexual abuse with aggravating circumstances for abusing three minor children.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Stitt-Johnson pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Jia M. Cobb scheduled sentencing for Jan. 25, 2023. Stitt-Johnson faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 68 ½ years.
According to the government’s evidence, Stitt-Johnson sexually abused three children, an eight-year-old, a five-year-old, and an eight-month-old infant, between 2015 and 2020. Stitt-Johnson took videos of his sexual abuse of the five-year-old child and the eight-month-old infant. While the five-year-old and her sister reported the abuse to their mother, the abuse was not reported to law enforcement agencies. In 2021, law enforcement officers received a tip that Stitt-Johnson downloaded child pornography from a cloud-based service and subsequently executed a search warrant on his home, recovering two cell phones belonging to Stitt-Johnson.
Videos depicting the sexual abuse of the five-year-old victim and eight-month-old victim were discovered in his cell phones, along with 13,000 images of child pornography. Stitt-Johnson distributed the images of his sexual abuse of children in Internet forums dedicated to trading child pornography, particularly trading images of the rape and torture of infants and toddlers, and actively sought out and distributed other child pornography images over a two-year period.
Stitt-Johnson was arrested on Dec. 17, 2021. He has been in custody since.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Graves, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs, and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, as well as MPD’s Youth and Family Services Division (YFSD), Internet Crimes Against Children Unit. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Alexis Spencer-Anderson and Daniel Haines, Victim/Witness Advocates Yvonne Bryant and Tracy Owusu, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Platt and Janani Iyengar.