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Reporter researching story charged with trading child porn

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Reporter researching story charged with trading child porn 09/22/97 MARYLAND--A veteran radio reporter was indicted in late August by a…

Reporter researching story charged with trading child porn

09/22/97

MARYLAND–A veteran radio reporter was indicted in late August by a federal grand jury for charges of receiving and sending child pornography through the Internet.

Larry Matthews, a business correspondent for National Public Radio, pleaded not guilty in federal District Court in Greenbelt, claiming that he was using the material as research for a freelance story.

Matthews, 53, is charged with nine felony counts of possession of child pornography and six counts of distribution of child pornography. The indictment alleges that the material was obtained and transmitted between July and December of 1996.

The indictment came on the heels of an investigation by the Mid- Atlantic Region Child Exploitation Task Force, which is run by the FBI.

In an affidavit in support of a search warrant for Matthews’ home, a task force detective wrote that Matthews was interviewed in September of 1996 after filing a complaint with the FBI. During the interview, Matthews informed agents that while working on a story about child pornography, he had an Internet conversation with a woman who offered to prostitute her two daughters.

According to the affidavit, Matthews said the conversation ended after he threatened to report the incident to police.

Matthews had done three stories about the issue in 1995 that aired on a Washington, D.C. radio station. Michael Stathum, Matthews’ attorney, said Matthews was continuing to investigate the topic for a freelance story and that “everything was done in the name of journalism.”

An NPR spokeswoman said Matthews was hired in June on a temporary basis, but that he is on paid leave until NPR learns more about the charges. (U.S. v. Matthews; Media Counsel: Michael Stathum, Greenbelt)