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Licking County man gets 25-year sentence for sexually exploiting boys from church youth group

A Licking County man was given a 25-year prison sentence Tuesday in federal court after he was convicted on charges of child sexual exploitation and soliciting child pornography.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, 27-year-old Matthew Reif, of Newark, victimized at least 52 boys between October 2020 and July 2022. He was able to gain access to some of his victims through his role with a church youth group.

Reif pleaded guilty to the charges in December of last year.

Officials say Reif used the social media app Snapchat to commit the crimes.

Court documents say Reif offered gifts and money to victims and would ask them to participate in sexual acts.

According to officials, Reif used text messages and Snapchat to contact the victims.

Authorities say Reif pretended to be a female named “Nicole” on Snapchat in order to get victims to send him inappropriate material. Twelve of the victims in the case said they sent photos or videos to Reif through Snapchat when they were between the ages of 14 and 17, thinking Reif was a female.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker said in a release, "Reif exploited his victims’ vulnerabilities through their religion, their financial limitations and their youth for his own perverted fantasies. For the well-being of those children whom he has already harmed, and to prevent the mental, psychological or physical damage to any additional children, Reif must be kept away from society for a significant period of time.”

Jared Clayton Brown joined the WOSU News team in November 2022. He spent seven years working for the Fox and NBC affiliate stations in Louisville and three years with the CBS affiliate station in Columbus.