ORLANDO, FL - October 23, 2015 - United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III announces that the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today upheld a 210-year sentence of imprisonment for Matthew Graziotti—a former elementary-school teacher, summer-camp director, and youth pastor—for producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography.
According to court documents, Graziotti had distributed images and videos depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children to an undercover FBI agent. During the execution of a search warrant, agents had located an enormous collection of photographs and videos showing the rape and exploitation of thousands of children. One computer folder, titled, “personally known,” had contained sexually explicit photographs and videos of 29 children whom Graziotti personally had sexually abused when they were under the age of 12 and had been entrusted to him in his various positions of authority. Graziotti had stored those sexually explicit photographs and videos in subfolders bearing each child-victim’s name. He had produced these images from 2010 through 2014.
Graziotti argued that his 210-year sentence is unreasonable because it is several times greater than his remaining life expectancy and therefore is, by definition, greater than necessary to serve any legitimate sentencing purpose. The Court of Appeals stated that the sentence is not unreasonable simply because it is physically impossible for Graziotti to serve it, observing that child-sex offenses are among the most “egregious and despicable of societal and criminal offenses.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted in the district court by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Gable. The appeal was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Susan H. Rothstein-Youakim and Assistant United States Attorney Linda Julin McNamara, Deputy Chief of the Appellate Division.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida
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