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Ex-St. Pete cop to plead guilty to child porn charges

Matthew Enhoffer once received the Medal of Valor from the St. Petersburg Police Department. Now a federal judge will decide his fate.
Ex-St. Petersburg police Officer Matthew Enhoffer is set to plead guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. In this 2015 picture, he received the St. Petersburg Police Department's Medal of Valor for his actions in a shootout with a troubled teenager that year. [Tampa Bay Times]
Ex-St. Petersburg police Officer Matthew Enhoffer is set to plead guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. In this 2015 picture, he received the St. Petersburg Police Department's Medal of Valor for his actions in a shootout with a troubled teenager that year. [Tampa Bay Times]
Published Jan. 16
Updated Jan. 16

TAMPA — A former St. Petersburg police officer will plead guilty to two child pornography charges, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court.

Matthew Enhoffer and federal prosecutors struck a plea agreement that calls for the ex-officer to plead guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The distribution charge also carries a mandatory minimum of five years.

It will be left to a federal judge to sentence Enhoffer, 34. But his attorneys can argue for leniency. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 4 to plead guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss a second count of distribution of child pornography, according to the plea agreement filed in the Middle District of Florida.

“I’m glad that Matthew Enhoffer was arrested and no longer a part of our police department," St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway said in a statement issued Thursday. "Our involvement with him ended at his termination. I trust in our courts to deal with him appropriately.”

Related: Decorated St. Petersburg officer faces child porn charges

Enhoffer’s attorney could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

Federal agents arrested the once-decorated police officer on Sept. 19. He resigned from the police department the next day, ending his 6 ½-year career with the agency. The St. Petersburg Police Department awarded him the Medal of Valor in 2015 for his actions during a shoot-out with a troubled teen that year.

Department of Homeland Security agents raided Enhoffer’s home in September and seized electronics including a desktop computer, three laptops and an iPhone, according to the plea agreement. On those devices, investigators found 391 child pornographic images, seven videos and 293 images of “child erotica.”

“The images depicted prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct,” the agreement says, “and some displayed children in bondage.”

St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez told the Tampa Bay Times that federal agencies didn’t find any illicit images on Enhoffer’s police-issued computer.

Agents were acting on a tip sent in July to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone with the username “thehoff727” had uploaded two images to an unspecified website. The account was connected to an IP address assigned to Enhoffer.

Also found on his devices were messages showing that Enhoffer sent another person 11 child pornographic images over two days in July 2018.

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report.

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