ST. GEORGE — A Virginia man convicted of a sexual crime involving a 13-year-old in Virginia is back in jail in Washington County after task force agents caught him allegedly trying to lure a young girl to “hang out” and his arrest followed shortly thereafter.
During an active operation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force a suspect, 27-year-old Matthew Ryan Settje made contact with what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl that was actually an undercover agent posing as a juvenile who, according to charging documents, clearly identified their purported age.
Charging documents also indicate that Settje continued communicating with the teen using a dating app and then text messages for several days. Through the course of messaging the youth, the suspect allegedly asked the girl if she “wanted to hang out” several times, the agent wrote.
Meanwhile, officers were able to identify the suspect as Settje through a phone search and also learned he was a sex offender out of Virginia and, according to the report, his criminal history shows a prior conviction of carnal knowledge of a 13-15-year old – which is a class 4 felony under Virginia law. “Carnal knowledge” is defined as having sexual intercourse and/or several other sexual acts with a child who falls within the age range as listed.
Agents also contacted the Utah Sex Offender Registry and found that Matthew used an address in Kane County when he registered but had actually been living in Ivins since March 7.
Moreover, the suspect allegedly failed to provide the local police department with his updated information within three days of the change as is required by law.
Through the course of the investigation a search warrant was executed on the Ivins residence where the suspect was staying. During the search, agents allegedly found several glass pipes commonly used to smoke marijuana, as well as containers with a green leafy substance consistent with suspected marijuana with affixed labeling depicting as such.
The suspect was arrested by an officer with the Washington City Police Department who also serves on the task force shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday. He was transported and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing a third-degree felony for failing to register as a sex offender. He also faces one count each of a sex offender that requests, invites or solicits a child to accompany, and possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.
Settje was required to register as a sex offender in Virginia as part of his sentence in a 2015 case filed in Campbell County, Virginia, for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to the felony carnal knowledge charge as well as a misdemeanor charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and served one year in jail.
The court also ordered that he register as a sex offender, but an entry could not be located during a review of the Virginia sex offender registry site.
No record of the suspect could be found during a review of the Utah Sex Offender Registry site either.
Following Wednesday’s arrest, the agent requested that Settje be held without bail, citing the suspect is not gainfully employed, has no car nor does he have any ties to Utah, in addition to being non-compliant with the sex offender registry as well as the law in Utah.
The order to hold the suspect without bail was signed Wednesday night and he remains in custody at the writing of this report.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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