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Judge sets Staplehurst man's bond at $500K for allegedly soliciting teen for nude photos to sell

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A judge has set a Staplehurst man's bond at a half-million dollars on allegations that he solicited a 16-year-old boy for graphic photos in hopes of making money off them.

Butler County Attorney Julie Reiter charged Matthew French, 35, last week with sex trafficking of a minor, attempted creation/distribution of child pornography and felony child abuse. 

If convicted he would face 25 years to life in prison on the most serious count. 

In an affidavit for French's arrest, Butler County Sheriff's Sgt. Zachary Pilcher said he was called to a high school in the county after the school's superintendent called dispatch saying the school's email security software had flagged an email that contained sexually explicit questions. 

It had been sent to a 16-year-old student. 

Pilcher said the teen said that French, an acquaintance, told him via social media that he could be paid $30 to $190 if he filled out a survey, which led to the email. 

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The sergeant said the email tracked back to French. 

On Sept. 3, a search warrant was served at his Staplehurst home looking for electronic devices. Pilcher said he came to believe French was trying to get nude photographs in exchange for money and uploading them to an overseas website for potential payment. 

At a first appearance in Butler County Court on Thursday, French waived a preliminary hearing, and a judge bound his case over to district court, where he is set for arraignment later this month. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or

On Twitter @LJSpilger


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Public safety reporter

Lori Pilger is a Norfolk native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been a public safety reporter for the Journal Star since 2005.

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