Brentwood man, girlfriend sentenced to collective 52 years in prison for producing child pornography

Matthew Pelton, 50, of Brentwood sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on child pornography charges, federal prosecutors said on Thursday, June 29, 2023.

A Brentwood couple was sentenced to a combined 52 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of producing child pornography, federal prosecutors announced

Matthew Lee Pelton, 50, faced 30 years in prison, and his girlfriend, Heather Electa Halwig Gharibian, 53, was sentenced to 22 years, after admitting that they conspired with each other to produce child sex abuse material, United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey said on Thursday.    

According to the plea agreements, both Pelton and Gharibian admitted that they conspired with each other to produce and film visual depictions of two minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct over a nearly four-month period in 2021.

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Both pleaded guilty to the charges in February. 

Prosecutors said through the instant messaging app, WhatsApp, Pelton would request that Gharibian perform sexual acts on a then 10-year-old child in her care.

"Pelton described his arousal, gave instructions on how to perform sexual acts on the victim, and requested that Gharibian make a video of the molestation of the child. In response to Pelton’s request, Gharibian performed requested sexual acts on the victim, filmed it, and sent it to Pelton," prosecutors said. 

Investigators said that two minor victims described ring cameras being placed throughout their house, including their bedrooms and bathrooms, which allowed Gharibian and Pelton to view them at will.

Federal prosecutors argued that Gharibian exploited the child for the sexual gratification of Pelton, whom they described as a "pedophile with a seeming predilection for preteens and teenagers."   

U.S. District Judge Jefferey S. White, who sentenced the couple, stated that the two "stole the victim's childhood," according to prosecutors. 

Following time served in prison, Judge White ordered Pelton and Gharibian to be under an additional five years of supervised release, which will begin after their respective prison terms. 

Bay City News contributed to this report.