SANTA ANA, Calif. (OCDAO) – A man who served as a male nanny for families across Southern California was sentenced today to 705 years to life plus two years and eight months for sexually assaulting 16 young boys under his care and showing a 17th boy child pornography with the intent to also sexually assault him. He filmed many of the sexual assaults on the young boys, who ranged in age from two to 12 years old.
Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 34, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on May 17, 2019 by Laguna Beach Police Department detectives at a local airport after deplaning an international flight. Zakrzewski was originally charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. He was also charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography.
After initial criminal charges were filed, investigators asked for the public‘s help in locating any other potential victims. As the investigation progressed, additional victims were identified through video evidence and tips from the public, resulting in additional charges being filed against Zakrzewski. Zakrzewski called himself “the original Sitter Buddy” on his website, in which he also characterized himself as a “manny” who provided a variety of babysitting services, including mentorships, big brother relationships and offering overnight and vacation babysitting.
“In the eighth grade I discovered what a joy it was to work with children and be a positive impact in their lives through my school’s `Buddy Program,’” Zakrzewski stated on the Sitter Buddy website. “Now, I am a full-service TrustLine Certified provider of regular and on-demand childcare, as well as mentoring services for children.”
Zakrzewski was ultimately charged with a total of 34 felony counts, including 27 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, two felony counts of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10, and one felony count of possession of child pornography. He also faced one felony count of using a minor for sex acts, two felony counts of distributing pornography to a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct, and one felony count of an attempted lewd or lascivious act with a minor under the age of 14. A jury convicted Zakrzewski of all 34 felonies.
In victim impact statements in court today, parents of the victimized boys expressed their outrage at the deception Zakrzewski engaged in to gain access to their children, including comparing Zakrzewski to an animal they blamed themselves for letting into their homes. The mother of a boy who was 2-years-old when he was molested by Zakrzewski wore a backpack with her son’s photograph on it while she gave her victim impact statement, her voice cracking as she described her heartbreak over never being able to meet who her little boy should have been if he hadn’t been subjected to the trauma of being sexually assaulted.
In a statement to the Court, Zakrzewski never apologized. “I prided myself on bringing smiles to your children and all the good times we shared were 100 percent genuine,” he said as several parents covered their ears and wept as he spoke.
The crimes were committed between January 1, 2014 and May 17, 2019. In early May 2019, a Laguna Beach couple reported to Laguna Beach Police that their babysitter, Zakrzewski, had touched their eight-year-old son inappropriately and was concerned for the safety of their son and potentially other children.
The couple had hired Zakrzewski to care for their eight-year-old child through one of his several babysitting websites. The Laguna Beach Police Department’s Major Crimes & Intelligence Unit immediately opened an investigation, which led to the identification of a second seven-year-old victim in the City of Los Angeles, and ten more boys from across Southern California.
“This is a case of shattered innocence and precious childhoods that were robbed from 17 little boys. These children will never know the people they were truly intended to be – because their childhoods were suddenly and inexplicably interrupted not by a wolf at the door, but by a predator masquerading as godsend,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Children are not born knowing how to lie, but this master manipulator taught these very young children to lie – and to keep secrets from their own parents. The sexual exploitation of children is meant to destroy the smallest of souls and this monster disguised by smiles and giggles engaged in the most horrific and calculated manipulation to ensure he would continue to have unfettered access to what these parents cherish the most – their children. These innocent little boys must bear a lifetime of trauma, and their parents will bear a lifetime of pain knowing that they put their precious children in the arms of an animal because they believed who he said he was. But that was a lie. He had no interest in protecting these children; his only interest was in preying on their innocence and filming the assaults for his sick sexual gratification. We cannot undue the trauma inflicted so unnecessarily on these children, but we can do everything we can to help support these families as they try to put back together the broken pieces of their children.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.
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