Montclair man arrested for trying to lure underage boy

MONTCLAIR, NJ — Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced March 2 that a Montclair man has been arrested for attempting to lure a boy under the age of 16 for sex and sending child sexual abuse materials via social media to persons he believed were underage.

Keith F. Matheis, 67, of Montclair, was arrested March 1 at his residence by detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice. Matheis was charged with luring a child in the second degree; showing obscene materials to a person under 18 in the third degree; showing obscene materials to a person under 18 — and at least four years younger than the defendant — for defendant’s sexual gratification in the third degree; distribution of child sexual abuse materials in the second degree; and possession of child sexual abuse materials in the third degree. 

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau that began after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from a social media service that a user of the service allegedly distributed a file of child sexual exploitation to another user via a direct message. Further investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice revealed that the user, who was identified as Matheis, allegedly engaged in sexually explicit chats with multiple users he believed were younger than 16. He allegedly arranged to meet one suspected minor child in Montclair in order to have sex with him. He also allegedly sent child sexual abuse materials to multiple persons, including users he believed were minors, and he allegedly sent a photo of his genitals to a victim he believed was 15.

“The allegations against Matheis reveal a dangerous child predator and they raise concerns about other potential victims,” Grewal said. “We urge anyone who might have relevant information about Matheis to contact us confidentially using the New Jersey ICAC Task Force tip line: 888-648-6007. We are committed to protecting children from these crimes.”

“Cases such as this one highlight the need for parents to vigilantly monitor their children’s online activity and educate their children about the potential dangers of social media,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Veronica Allende said. “In addition to pursuing tips from NCMEC, we routinely conduct proactive investigations on social media platforms and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to identify child predators and offenders distributing child sexual abuse materials.”

Attorney General Grewal commended the detectives and attorneys of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau, who conducted the investigation and made the arrest. He also thanked the Montclair Police Department for assisting with the arrest and the execution of a search warrant at the residence of Matheis.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty in a court of law.

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