The Ankeny Police Department was recently provided a tip by the Internet Crimes Against Children taskforce (ICAC) in regard to child exploitation/pornography. After a collaborative investigation between the Ankeny PD and ICAC, Matthew J. Marcalus (54) was arrested on Oct. 6 in Ankeny on multiple charges and taken to the Polk County Jail.
Marcalus had been in contact with a victim and was expecting to meet this person when he arrived at an Ankeny business, but was immediately placed under arrest by detectives from the Ankeny PD. Marcalus was in possession of images of child pornography and sexually explicit messages he had received via social media from a victim at the time of his arrest. Investigations of this type are complex and can take a long time to complete. This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Braun at (515) 289-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matthew J. Marcalus (54)
5268 Meredith Drive
Des Moines, IA 50310
Human Trafficking – IA code 710A.2(4) – C Felony
Enticing a Minor - IA code 710.10 (2) – D Felony
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (3 counts) – IA code 728.12 (3)
The Ankeny Police Department would like to remind the community the internet, for all of its benefits, also gives criminals and predators an easy way to reach young people. The FBI most often sees crimes against children begin when an adult creates a relationship with a young victim online and then later arranges to meet and abuse the child. They are also known to coerce a child into producing sexually explicit images or videos through manipulation, gifts, or threats—a crime called sextortion.
The most important advice for parents/guardians is to have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior. Other advice to consider:
- Educate yourself about the websites, software, games, and apps that your children use.
- Check their social media and gaming profiles and posts. Have conversations about what is appropriate to say or share.
- Explain to your kids that once images or comments are posted online they can be shared with anyone and never truly disappear.
- Make sure your kids use privacy settings to restrict access to their online profiles.
- Tell your children to be extremely cautious when communicating with anyone online who they do not know in real life.
- Encourage kids to choose appropriate screen names and to create strong passwords.
- Make it a rule with your kids that they can't arrange to meet up with someone they met online without your knowledge and supervision.
- Stress to your children that making any kind of threat online —even if they think it's a joke—is a crime.
- Report any inappropriate contact between an adult and your child to law enforcement immediately. Make note of the app or website they were using.
Ankeny case # - 22-004846