Matthew Willoughby Hale

Matthew Willoughby Hale

A Marlow man charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse and a count of lewd molestation after a child porn investigation entered a “not guilty” plea in court Wednesday.

According to On Demand Court Records, Matthew Willoughby Hale, of Marlow, faces five counts of sexual abuse and a count of lewd molestation. Charges are directly related to a child porn investigation dating back to December 2017, which left Hale with 13 counts of possession of child pornography in a different case.

Hale previously asked for a “joinder and consolidation” of charges between the two different cases for trial, which has since been objected.

According to court documents, examination of evidence from the 2017 case resulted in investigators determining that one of the children in the home had been involved in the situation. 

The Banner previously reported during spring 2017, a county law informant was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for an ongoing investigation involving the possession and distribution of child pornography through the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) internet-based file sharing, such as BitTorrent.

The FBI learned that some time between March 29 and 30, 2017, an IP address located in Marlow had sponsored nine files that were made available to BitTorrent for download, according to the report.

“These nine files are identified as having pre-teen and/or underage titles to them,” the affidavit read. “… Additional videos were captured, based upon this investigation involving the FBI, but these videos were not captured in their entirety ...”

The report stated some of the videos captured from BitTorrent associated with the Marlow IP address included a solo video of a 5- to 6-year-old female with an adult male and another of a minor female with an adult male.

According to documents filed by the Sixth District Attorney’s Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, investigators with the task force, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) and Marlow Police executed a search warrant on the 500 block of N. Ash St. in Marlow on May 15, 2017. 

Law enforcement learned a female, Hale and two minors stayed in the home. Those conducting the search warrant seized electronic devices including one computer hard drive CPU unit that was located in the lower living room of the residence. The computer was sent to OSBI for forensic examination, reports state.

A digital evidence report from OSBI from the examination of the computer drive revealed 36 pictures identified as potential child pornography, two video files identified as potential child pornography, four carved photographs saved for review of potential child pornography that had been deleted on the computer but were recovered by OSBI, along with 15 files recovered that are generated as a shortcut link when a user of the computer interacts with a file of application. The names of the files discovered were commonly associated with child pornography terms, affidavits state.

Hale was bailed out for $50,000 in December 2017 and instructed to stay off the internet and phone and remain under supervision on an ankle monitor.

Reports from the investigators further state on Jan. 11, 2019, while preparing for an upcoming jury trial involving Hale, one of the 36 images forensically extracted was a still image depicting “a minor child engaged in oral sex with an adult male that did not depict a facial identification.”

At that time, investigators observed Facebook social media photographs of Hale, including tattoos on Hale’s left arm.

“These tattoos include a distinct ‘eye’ on the forearm as well as additional tattoos on the hand and arm area,” reports state. “After observing the graphic image of the minor child … your affiant was able to observe the same tattoos on the adult made that is the same as Matthew Hale including the distinct eye tattoo. Your affiant was also able to observe that the location of where this photographic image was taken was known by your affiant to be in the living room … and recognize the background as being consistent with what the residence looked like during the execution of the search warrant May 15, 2017.”

Investigators were able to identify the child based on highlights in her hair, reports state, which was the same color as it was in the illicit photograph about two years before the discovery.

Reports from law enforcement indicate the alleged crimes against the minor victim occurred numerous times between July 2011 and Jan. 10, 2019.

Child sexual abuse is punishable by not less than 25 years and a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000. Lewd molestation is punishable by not less than 25 years. The defendant, if found guilty, will face at least 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for release. Sentencing for the first crime bearing 13 counts of possession of child porn has not yet occurred.

Hale is slated to appear for felony docket call at 9 a.m. Aug. 28. Jury trial is tentatively set for 9 a.m. Sept. 16.

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