A 37-Year-Old Films Sex With 16-Year-Old And Sends Her The Videos; Court Says He Distributed Child Porn

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Who Is Matthew Rouse? New Details On The 37-Year-Old Who Filmed Himself Having Sex With 16-Year-Old And Distributed It
Entertainment And News

When two people decided to record their sex sessions on video and watch them back later, that's usually their business and their business alone. Of course, that all goes out the window when one of the parties involved happens to be under the age of 18. Who is Matthew Rouse? He's a nearly 40-year-old man who recorded and shared the videos he took of sex he had with a 16-year-old girl. He might have only shared them with her but that didn't mean he was off the hook. He's been found guilty on charges of distributing child pornography. 

1. Meet Matthew Rouse 

Matthew Rouse, 37, is a former sergeant with the Nebraska Army National Guard, but his career there is long over. Why? Because Matthew was found guilty of distributing child pornography. In 2018, Matthew pled guilty to the charges after he admitted that he had filmed himself having consensual sex with a 16-year-old girl and then shared the video with her, and, he claims, only her. The courts sentenced him to eight years in prison for the offense and Matthew, in a strange move considering he pleaded guilty, went ahead and appealed the decision which is why he's back in the news today. 

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2. Why He's Appealing The Decision 

Time has past and Rouse is now 39. In the interim, his appeal has been working its way through the US District Court in Nebraska in the hopes that the charges against him will be dropped altogether. See, the way it looks to Matthew, a man who is now nearly 40, there was actually nothing wrong with him having sex with a 16-year-old and sharing the videos with her and her alone. That's because in the state of Nebraska the legal age of sexual consent is 16. In fact, Matthew went further and said that even prosecuting him for these crimes violated his free speech as well as his rights to "sexual privacy." 

3. The Court Said No 

In a day and age where men are often given just a slap on the wrist for violating children and mistreating women (if you'll forgive the editorializing), the court in Nebraska wasn't going to budge when it came to its decision about Matthew. First, they pointed out that "free speech," while protected by the First Amendment "categorically excludes" child pornography. They upheld their original decision about Matthew saying that “the production and distribution of video recordings of a 16-year-old girl engaged in sexual explicit conduct was illegal, even if the sexual activity is legal in the State of Nebraska.”

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5. Matthew's History With The Victim 

Before his arrest and conviction, Matthew Rouse met the 16-year-old girl he recorded himself having sex with while he working to sign up kids for a CrossFit competition, which has been verified by the courts. The two often met after this initial encounter. From 2016 to 2017 they got together in the city of Omaha to have sex. It was Matthew's idea to record their sex sessions and the girl was on board. He shot the videos using their cellphones and used the internet to send the videos to her. 

6. The Court's Final Word 

The 8th Circuit Court of appeals vetoed the free speech argument in with just a few words: “The creation of the speech is itself the crime of child abuse. It may not be illegal for an adult to place an unclothed child on a bed, but when the adult produces and distributes images of the child that contain a lascivious exhibition of the child’s genitals, the activity is illegal and outside the protection of the First Amendment." Even by sending it to the woman in the video and to her alone, Matthew had technically distributed child pornography and thus will spend eight years in prison. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.