New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | July 16, 2019

Former New Kent teacher pleads guilty to two counts of soliciting a minor for sex

By Andre Jones | March 25, 2019 10:58 am

A former New Kent teacher has entered guilty pleas to two counts of using a communication device to solicit sex from a minor.

Matthew Spencer Duckworth, 41, formerly of the 9000 block of Chestnut Drive, New Kent, entered the pleas during Monday morning proceedings in New Kent Circuit Court. As part of him entering those guilty pleas, three counts of using a communication device to solicit sex from a minor were dropped.

In a summary of evidence provided by Commonwealth’s Attorney Linwood Gregory, the prosecutor submitted a two-and-a-half page of text messages of the recap to Judge B. Elliott Bondurant detailing how the victim informed a New Kent detective of the events. Gregory proceeded to enter more than 52 pages of text messages exchanged between Duckworth and the victim. Information in those text messages included Duckworth telling the victim how to destroy the pictures, videos, and text messages, along with him commenting about how his life and career was ruined.

Gregory showed a computer with images and videos to the judge and defense attorney Todd Duval. Gregory explained that the victim had used an old iPod to record the videos and pictures prior to deleting them from their phone. The victim deleted those images and videos from the iPod but did not remove them entirely from the device. A Middlesex specialist in data retrieval from electronic devices was able to recover approximately 23 videos from the iPod. In addition, several pictures and information related to video chatting revealed that more than 600 exchanges on the Snapchat app took place between Duckworth and the victim. The extraction of information also recovered a date and location of where the messages were received, which took place between Aug. 16-21, 2018 in New Kent.

Bondurant looked on at the computer, which consisted of additional pictures and videos of the defendant. According to Gregory, Duckworth attempted to offer Xanax to the victim so that the victim could relax. In addition, recovered video showed the defendant vaping and masturbating.

When Bondurant questioned Gregory about why a plea deal was made, the Commonwealth’s Attorney advised that the victim was traumatized from the experience and while they could testify, they preferred not to and that the punishment would be sufficient.

A request for the defendant to remain on bond by Duval was met with disdain by the judge.

“This case is disgusting,” said Bondurant. “For a teacher to do this to a student. He’s remanded to jail.”

A presentence report is being prepared for Duckworth, with sentencing guidelines recommending a sentencing range between one year, 10 months to five years, two months. However, each charge carries up to 20 years in prison, which means the defendant can face up to 40 years incarcerated.

Formal sentencing for Duckworth is scheduled for June 17.