By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Authorities say a Montclair man attempted to lure a boy under the age of 16 to his home for sex, and sent media of child abuse to people he believed to be underage.

Keith Matheis, 67, was arrested at his home on Monday, March 1. He has been charged with second-degree luring a child; third-degree showing obscene materials to a person under the age of 18; another third-degree charge for showing obscene materials to a person under the age of 18 because that person was allegedly at least four years younger than Matheis; second-degree distribution of child sexual materials; and third-degree possession of child sexual abuse materials. 

He is being held in the Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing. 

The Office of the Attorney General and the Division of Criminal Justice’s Cyber Crimes Task Force conducted an investigation at Matheis’ home on Warman Street on Monday. 

The door to the home appeared to have been rammed in, and neighbors reported seeing investigators carry paper bags of evidence from the home. 

The Montclair Police Department referred all questions about the investigation to state authorities.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from a social media service that a user distributed a file of child sexual exploitation to another user via direct message, the attorney general’s office said. Investigators said they found Matheis engaged in sexually explicit chats with multiple users he believed were under the age of 16. 

They also said he arranged to meet one suspected minor in Montclair in order to have sex with him, and that he sent child sexual abuse materials to other people, including users he believed to be minors. He’s accused of sending a photo of his own genitals to someone he believed to be 15 years old. 

“The allegations against Matheis reveal a dangerous child predator and they raise concerns about other potential victims,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said.

Grewal encouraged anyone with information about Matheis to contact investigators confidentially using the New Jersey ICAC Task Force Tip Line: 888-648-6007.

“Cases such as this one highlight the need for parents to vigilantly monitor their children’s online activity and educate their children about the potential dangers of social media,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Veronica Allende said in an announcement of the arrest. 

“In addition to pursuing tips from [the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children], we routinely conduct proactive investigations on social media platforms and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to identify child predators and offenders distributing child sexual abuse materials.”

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.