Former Newark teaching assistant pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: March 17, 2021 06:38 PM
Created: March 16, 2021 07:20 PM

NEWARK, N.Y. (WHEC) — A former Newark teaching assistant pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. Matthew Holland faces up to 50 years in prison and lifetime supervised release.

Between 2016 and 2020 federal prosecutors say Holland coerced minors to produce child pornography via social media, recorded minors undressing in their homes and also recorded them at the YMCA in Canandaigua where he worked.

Prosecutors say he also secretly recorded Newark students in the dressing room of his photography studio in Newark and downloaded hundreds of child porn images and videos from the internet.

“I rarely ever say his name," Hailey Atkins said. "With everything that I know, I just don't get it. I just don't understand how someone can have this face on the outside and you're somebody else completely on the inside it's disgusting.”

Atkins met Holland when she was a student at Newark High School. The teaching assistant offered to take Atkins’ senior pictures at his photography studio. Years later, she found out that he had hidden cameras in the changing rooms.

The same thing happened to dozens of her friends.

“There was a lot of my friends who were involved in their younger siblings it just it's disgusting and I could never imagine that happening to my daughter and I think that's why I have gotten more of a voice on this,” Atkins said.

Since she and others have come forward in the spring of 2020, the high school principal and superintendent in Newark have stepped down. The school board has promised a review of allegations by former staff members who said they made complaints about Holland’s behavior in the past.

“I know they're on the right track they got a new superintendent I heard she's great so hopefully, it works out,” Atkins said.  

With Holland’s guilty plea, his young victims can begin to move forward with the help of one another.

“I kind of felt like an advocate for all these girls that were coming to me, I mean... I know mine [situation] wasn't obviously as severe as some of the other younger girls but I just felt like I could be a voice for them if they didn't want to speak out,” Atkins said.

Holland will be sentenced in federal court on June 17. He’s facing a minimum of 15 years behind bars and a maximum of 50 years.


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