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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. HSI Baltimore Investigation Leads to Maryland Woman's Indictment on Federal Child Sexual Exploitation, Sex Trafficking Charges

HSI Baltimore Investigation Leads to Maryland Woman's Indictment on Federal Child Sexual Exploitation, Sex Trafficking Charges

Release Date: March 13, 2024

BALTIMORE — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore, the Maryland State Police, the Baltimore Police Department and the Howard County Police Department resulted in a Maryland woman being federally indicted for two charges stemming from her sexual exploitation of a child.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment March 5 charging Verena May Mathis, 24, of Capitol Heights, with sexual exploitation of a child and with child sex trafficking.

“Ms. Mathis will have her day in court, but she stands accused of some very serious crimes involving leading a minor into a web of exploitation and abuse,” said HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris. “HSI takes the safety and security of our citizens very seriously, especially that of the children in our communities. HSI Baltimore will continue to work tirelessly with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate predatory behavior and apprehend anyone engaged in the heinous exploitation of the defenseless members of our society.”

According to the investigation, in December 2020, Mathis produced sexually explicit images of a minor victim and used the minor victim to engage in a commercial sex act. The minor victim was less than 14 years of age at the time.

The investigation arose when a video depicting the minor victim and an adult woman, subsequently identified as Mathis, were found during a search of the online accounts of Eugene Edward Golden, 38, of Baltimore, a defendant in a separate child exploitation case.

In February 2024, the Maryland State Police released redacted photographs to the public depicting the distinctive tattoos of the woman in the video with the minor victim. They offered up to $14,000 in reward money for information leading to her identification. A public tip led to Mathis’ arrest.

If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for sexual exploitation of a child, and a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in federal prison for child sex trafficking.

Mathis is expected to have an initial appearance on this indictment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore at a later date. She was previously charged by criminal complaint and has been detained since her arrest on Feb. 15.

Golden has been charged in a 160-count second superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit sexual exploitation of a child, sexual exploitation of children, child sex trafficking, and receipt and possession of child sexual abuse material. The superseding indictment alleges that Golden communicated with women to arrange for the creation of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. If convicted, Golden faces up to life in federal prison.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

This 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 the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Baltimore, the MSP-led Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Baltimore Police Department and the Howard County Police Department. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland is prosecuting the case.

HSI encourages members of the public to report instances of fraud, crimes, or suspicious activity by calling the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP. The tip line is staffed 24 hours a day.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSIBaltimore.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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