A 28-year-old Cabot man is headed to prison for 25 years for engaging in sexual activities with a 5-year-old boy and producing child pornography of the activities to share on the Internet.
Matthew Hiner agreed in June to the 25-year sentence in return for pleading guilty to a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a child. However, the plea agreement wasn't accepted by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright until Wednesday, after she reviewed the findings of a presentence investigation.
Hiner also has admitted engaging in sexual activities with a friend's sons, who were ages 8 and 11 at the time, but additional charges stemming from those encounters were dropped by prosecutors in return for Hiner's negotiated plea and sentence.
On June 3, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Bryant said Hiner was arrested in August of 2013 after being caught online by an undercover officer in Washington, D.C. The officer was part of a child-exploitation task force who visited a chat room and connected with Hiner on Aug. 22.
After Hiner posted photographs of a boy's genitalia, followed by an image of himself performing a sex act on the boy, the task force traced an Internet Protocol address Hiner was using to his grandmother's house in Cabot, where he was arrested on Aug. 23, 2013.
The charge to which Hiner pleaded guilty is punishable by 15 to 30 years in prison and probation of five years to life.
Wright ordered a lifetime probationary sentence upon Hiner's release and added several conditions that included no-contact orders with any of the boys who were Hiner's victims once Hiner is released on probation, as well as a prohibition on him owning children's clothes, toys, books or videos, "or anything that could be attractive to children."
Defense attorney Lisa Peters, an assistant federal public defender, complained that the order was "overly broad and vague," but Wright overruled Peters' objection, saying that "if there is any question, he can always ask his probation officer."
Wright also ordered Hiner to serve his time in a federal institution that offers programs for sexual predators, and authorized him to participate in a prison drug treatment program that, if successfully completed, can shave a small amount of time off a sentence. She noted, "He does have a history of drug abuse."
Meanwhile, Hiner still faces three charges of rape and one count of second-degree sexual assault in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
In a news release, U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said, "Our office is committed to protecting the innocence of society's most vulnerable victims, our children, especially when they are being abused by those they trust the most. Today's sentence will not un-do the harm done by Hiner, but it does send the message that actions like his will not be tolerated and will result in lengthy prison sentences."
Metro on 09/24/2015
Print Headline: Cabot man, 28, gets 25 years for sexually exploiting boy, 5