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Tag: First Presbyterian Church Fresno

Black Collar Crime: Steven Matlak Hosted Bible Studies for Children, Accused of Child Sex Crimes

steven matlak

Steven Matlak, a Fresno lawyer and active member of First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, California, stands accused of child sex abuse charges.

ABC-30 reports:

A Fresno civil attorney at a large law firm has been arrested on child sex abuse charges for the second time in the last two weeks. Steven Matlak, 40, is now facing multiple felony charges for the alleged crimes.

Sheriff’s deputies won’t say how many victims there are so far but did say the ones they’re aware of who’ve been preyed upon are all between five and 10 years old.

Matlak was not only a lawyer for a Fresno law firm but also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and is now sitting in jail. Sheriff’s deputies say multiple children have come forward claiming Matlak inappropriately touched them.

“Unfortunately, we come across cases every day where it’s people you put the most trust into and they deceive you,” Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. “And this is a prime example of that.”

Matlak was first arrested on sex abuse charges just two weeks ago after a five-year-old girl came forward saying Matlak touched her and took naked pictures of her. Then one day later, a nine-year-old victim came forward and claiming the same thing.

Matlak was arrested and bailed himself out. Deputies say while he was released, detectives continued investigating.

“They established more victims in the community interviewed them and their families and found out he had taken advantage of others,” Botti said.

And on Thursday, he was rearrested.

The senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church says Matlak has been a member there since 2009. A flyer on the church’s website shows Matlak even held bible studies at his home for children where they could swim and learn about God.

The church says they’ve already begun ministering to the people who’ve been impacted saying in a statement in part, “Our hope is that the truth is made known and that we can all work together toward restoration and healing.”


The Fresno Bee reports:

Sheriff’s detectives say they first got a report on July 27 from a woman who said her 5-year-old daughter had told her Matlak photographed and touched the girl inappropriately while she was naked. Coincidentally, detectives developed information the following day that Matlak had done something similar with a 9-year-old girl, who is not related, said Tony Botti, Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman.

Matlak was arrested and jailed on July 28 and bailed out the following week.

Following Matlak’s release from jail, detectives continued their investigation and learned he had apparently victimized other children. Detectives interviewed them, then re-arrested Matlak on Thursday on a new set of charges.

Detectives say Matlak knew all of his victims from prior interactions with them and their families. They served search warrants at Matlak’s workplace and home, seizing his electronic devices to look for evidence.

The case was triggered after the mother of the 5-year-old victim had a talk with her daughter about good touching and bad touching, Botti said. Following that conversation, the girl told her mother about her encounter with Matlak earlier this year and she called detectives.


Bruce Gerencser