Robert Matthews

A former member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of possessing child pornography.

Robert Matthews, 52, of Orem, appeared in U.S. District Court to admit he possessed images of child pornography that were sent over the Internet. His plea comes as part of a plea bargain struck with federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors say they will recommend the lower end of the federal sentencing guidelines for Matthews' acceptance of responsibility in the case. Sentencing is set for Oct. 9.

Matthews was indicted by a federal grand jury in October of last year. Charges were also filed in state court on four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of lewdness involving a child, a misdemeanor. The state charges were dismissed in lieu of the federal case.

According to police, Matthews was arrested Sept. 28, 2006, after they received evidence that he swam naked with four young boys during a trip to Diamond Fork Hot Springs in July of that year. While on the trip, Matthews took pictures of the nude swim and later processed the images on his computer.

Matthews had joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in January 2006 but was released after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learned of his arrest, according to a church official.

When sentenced, Matthews also faces being placed on federal supervised release for the rest of his life.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com