Law enforcement dragnet catches man allegedly preying on Minnesota teens online
Gabriel Vitali Matthias, 27, of Madison, Wis., pleaded guilty Monday, June 15, to felony soliciting a child to engage in a sexual act and felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim 12-15 years of age. The charges were amended from felony soliciting a child to engage in sexual contact. His next court date will be July 20.
In February, a Beltrami County Sheriff's deputy and an investigator met with a 14-year-old girl who said she had lived in Laporte the previous year. She and a friend met a man named Gabriel on MySpace. Matthias was 26 years old at the time and living in California. The girl continued to chat, text and converse via telephone with Matthias until Feb. 17, when he told her he was moving to Wisconsin to find work and would be coming through Minnesota.
On Feb. 16, Matthias contacted the girl. On Feb. 17, the girl met Matthias on the road where he picked her up in his car. He had already picked up her friend at her home.
The girl reported that while they were driving, Matthias placed his hands under her bra and fondled her breasts.
Matthias has a pending charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Cass County in relation to this incident.
A deputy made contact with the girl as she had begun to receive text messages again from Matthias April 23. He said he was living in Madison. Matthias asked her to perform sexual acts with him and told Matthias he would pay her for the services.
As of April 24, Matthias's whereabouts were unknown. His last known address was in California. He also received a passport under the name of Benjamin Wayne Gill.
On May 1, U.S. marshals informed the deputy that Matthias had been apprehended at his residence in Madison. Matthias was extradited to Beltrami County Jail May 5. In a statement, Matthias told the investigator that his parents applied and obtained a U.S. Passport for him in the name of Gill when he was 2 years old. At that time his name was Benjamin Gill. He legally changed his name to Gabriel in Oregon.
When asked what brought him to Bemidji, Matthias responded that he had met a girl in a chat room online and was intending to come here to meet with her. He admitted to having sexual contact with her. He said he was aware that both girls were under the age of 17.
The investigation involved the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office; U.S. Department of State/Diplomatic Security; Immigrations and Customs Enforcement; Internet Crimes Against Children; National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; Bureau of Indian Affairs; U.S. Marshall Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Madison Police Department and St. Paul Police Department.