Former Nome officer sentenced to 37 months on child pornography charges

Former Nome officer sentenced to 37 months on child pornography charges
Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 6:15 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2023 at 6:36 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A former police officer was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison on charges of possessing child pornography materials.

According to a press release from the Department of Law, 39-year-old Wasilla resident Matthew Schwier had more than 100 still images and multiple videos in his possession that depicted the sexual abuse of children as infants. Media depicting abuse of children was also found on the multiple computers in Schwier’s home that were seized during the investigation of his crimes.

The department’s press release says Schwier failed to complete probationary employment as a police officer in several departments — located in Phoenix, Ariz., Roswell, N.M., and Elk Point, S.D. — before taking employment as a police officer in Nome. In 2016, the FBI began investigating Schwier after he shared child pornographic media with an undercover officer online. By the time he was arrested in 2017, Schwier was working as a justice director for the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council.

Authorities also believe that because Schwier was employed in law enforcement, he may have utilized his specialty training — as well as advanced computer skills — to conduct and conceal his crimes.

Schwier’s case, which was decided by a judge rather than a seated jury, was delayed multiple times before coming to a conclusion. Prosecution in the case prepared to present evidence at trial that Schwier had developed “a reputation within the law enforcement community of being untruthful.”

Agents from the FBI’s Anchorage field office that worked on the case believe the sentencing should serve as a warning to other potential offenders.

“May this sentencing serve as a reminder that no one is above the law, and concealing evidence of child exploitation will not go undetected,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Donald W. Lee II said. “As these crimes perpetuate the re-victimization of innocent children, the FBI remains steadfast in its commitment to identify and hold accountable those who contribute to the online sexual exploitation of children.”

Following imprisonment, Schwier will be under federal supervised release for 7 years and have to register as a sex offender. After release, he will not be allowed to use the internet without the permission of the U.S. Probation Office. He will also pay $15,000 in restitution to his victims.

To report online child sexual exploitation, use the electronic Cyber Tip Line or call 1-800-843-5678. The Cyber Tip Line is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in partnership with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.