A judge in Virginia has sentenced a Marlboro man to 15-years in prison for having an intimate relationship with a 14-year old Loudoun County girl.

22-year old Matthew Essen traveled from New Jersey to meet the girl after beginning a relationship on the mobile app 'Kik'.

In early May 2018, Essen began an internet relationship with a fourteen year old in
Loudoun County.

The two of them communicated and sent photographs to each other using Kik.

On May 20, 2018, Essen traveled from New Jersey to Loudoun County to meet the
girl at a restaurant.

The two left the restaurant in Essen’s vehicle and went to a local park.

At the park, Essen and the victim engaged in sexual activity, some of which Essen filmed using his cell phone.

Essen later forwarded the videos to the victim via Kik.

The two of them left the park per the teen’s request when she saw other people walking around the park.

The following day, the victim reported the incident to a school counselor, and the counselor immediately contacted the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

With the victim’s cooperation, Detectives were able to record a phone call between the victim and Essen.

The Marlboro native confirmed the alleged sexual encounter and suggested that the two meet again to engage in sexual activity.

Essen later appeared before Judge Thomas D. Horne in Loudoun County Circuit Court after being charged with two counts of carnal knowledge, two counts of producing child pornography, one count of indecent liberties with a child and one count of proposing a sex act by communications system.

This week, Horne imposed a total active sentence of fifteen years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Essen received an additional fifteen years of suspended time and is prohibited from any
contact with the victim or the victim’s family.

Essen entered pleas of guilty to all counts on November 19, 2018.

Before pronouncing a sentence, Judge Horne noted that Essen has a high likelihood of
re-offending and that he was troubled by the age of the victim in this case.

“The Victim  Impact Statement is breathtaking,” Horne said. “You can almost hear the child in this courtroom. Unable to ignore the fact that evidence suggested Essen ruined
this child’s life and perhaps other children as well, Judge Horne deviated upwards from the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines which called for a maximum sentence of ten years and six months. [Victims] need to know that in their heart of hearts, when they go forward, that they did not do anything wrong."

Upon his release from prison, Essen will be placed on of supervised probation for the remainder of his life.

Pursuant to Virginia’s Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act, Essen will also be required to register as a sex offender.

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