Former State Official Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for Distribution of Child Pornography

    Mathew Palmer, a former state government official, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Tuesday for distribution of child pornography.

    Palmer, 44, of Severna Park, pleaded guilty to distribution in March. He previously worked as chief operating officer at the Department of Commerce and before that as Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s deputy legislative officer.

    He resigned abruptly from state employment last August and was indicted in January.

    According to federal prosecutors, at least 936 images and 368 videos of child pornography were found on Palmer’s cell phone, including prepubescent minors; child pornography involving toddlers; and child pornography involving bondage and other sadistic acts.

    In a signed plea agreement, Palmer admitted to both downloading and distributing images of child pornography, and to accessing images from IP addresses associated with state government buildings.

    On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher sentenced him to eight years in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release; Gallagher also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Palmer must register as a sex offender.

    “Individuals like Palmer who trade and possess this illegal material online are essentially facilitating an underground criminal marketplace that endangers children,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner said in a statement. “This case should serve as a reminder that law enforcement will bring to justice anyone who endangers children. No one is above the law.”

    [email protected]

    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post ― as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at The Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.