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Towing company turns over thumb drive to police, leading to Springdale man's conviction for child porn, abuse

Matthew Lawson, 34, was sentenced to 50 years without parole and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and restitution for crimes against children.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — After a multi-agency investigation, the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville sentenced a Springdale man to prison and ordered him to pay fines for acts against children. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Matthew Lawson, 34, was sentenced to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole and ordered to pay $30,000 in fines and restitution. 

Lawson was convicted on three counts of Possession of Child Pornography, four counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse in Indian Country, one count of Lewd Acts with a Child in Indian Country and one count of Production of Child Pornography. 

“This sentence accurately reflects the serious nature of this particularly heinous crime,” said David Clay Fowlkes United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.  “It is our sincere hope that this sentence sends an important message to those who would seek to engage in this sort of criminal conduct: our office will continue to aggressively pursue cases against individuals who would seek to exploit and abuse children in the Western District of Arkansas and elsewhere.”

According to court documents, in September 2019, the Springdale Police Department (SPD) was contacted by employees of a local towing company, who impounded Lawson's vehicle, and said there was a thumb drive located that contained child sexual abuse images. 

SPD and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Fayetteville Division, then executed a search warrant on Lawson’s Springdale residence confiscating multiple electronic devices, including a laptop. 

HSI conducted a forensic examination of Lawson’s laptop, revealing approximately 900 videos and over 240 images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Included within these images, were multiple videos of Lawson sexually abusing a minor.  During the course of the investigation, it was revealed Lawson sexually abused a different minor.

“The successful prosecution of the defendant, in this case, is a testament to the cooperation of state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors,” said Christopher J. Wilson, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. “The actions of the defendant were detestable, and I am hopeful the sentence imposed today will send a clear, resounding message that sexually assaulting and exploiting children is intolerable and will result in substantial punishment.”

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