‘Matthew the Manny’ molested 16 boys in ‘ultimate betrayal by a babysitter’: DA
A male nanny was convicted of 34 felonies this week and could face life imprisonment for molesting 16 boys between the ages of 2 and 12, showing pornography to a 17th and creating his own child pornography, per the Orange County District Attorney.
An investigation into Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 34, was launched in May 2019 when a family in Laguna Beach, California, told police he had molested their 8-year-old son, per charging documents. Many more victims abused between 2014 and 2019 were identified through video evidence and tips from the public in the resulting investigation.
“It was actually sickening to me and the rest of the detectives – we put all of our focus into this investigation,” Laguna Beach Police Sergeant Jim Cota told KTLA after the initial arrest.
In total, Zakrzewski faces 690 years to life in prison, plus an additional eight years, per the press release. His bail was set at $1 million, according to charging documents reviewed by Fox News Digital.
Zakrzewski was a “mastermind at preying upon these families, not just grooming the children but grooming the parents,” Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver told jurors in closing arguments reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.
He was one of the founding members of “Sitter Buddy,” a website where Orange County parents can connect with prospective caregivers. On his profile, Zakrzewski characterized himself as a “manny” who offered mentorships, big brother relationships and overnight and vacation babysitting.
He also specified that he was skilled with children with special needs and behavioral problems.
“At a very early age, I discovered what a joy it was to work with children and be a positive impact in their lives through the ‘Buddy Program’ at my middle school,” read his profile, which has since been taken down from the site. “Now, I’m a career manny and my 6+ years childcare experience spans from ages 3 months to 14, including special needs… I think the reason I connect easily with kids is because I am not just there to supervise, I participate.”
The “manny” is pictured shirtless and smiling among a group of young boys in a pool on the profile.
The initial victim’s mother told the LA Times that there were “lots of reviews saying [Zakrzewski] was a wonderful caregiver” and that “there just looked like a lot of joy.”
Ultimately, Zakrzewski was convicted for 34 felony charges on Tuesday: lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, two counts of oral copulation of a child under 10, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of using a minor for sex acts, two counts of distributing pornography to a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct and one count of attempted lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14.
Many victims were molested multiple times, per the complaint.
“These parents were led to believe that they could trust this man with the most precious thing in their entire world – their children,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer wrote in a press release from August 2019, before the total number of victims had come forward. “Instead, he preyed on these innocent boys and violated that trust in a vile and sadistic way.”
In a press release issued this week, Spitzer wrote that Zakrzewski’s young victims “were forced to endure unimaginable terror as a result of the ultimate betrayal by a babysitter.”
“These parents thought they were hiring a trusted caregiver for their children while they went on family vacations, date nights, and for other childcare needs; instead they were unknowingly letting a monster walk into their homes and prey upon their innocent children in the vilest way,” he continued.
In some cases, Oliver told jurors, victims “really loved the defendant” and underwent abuse “not even knowing it was wrong.”
In one case, a 7-year-old victim devolved into tears when he was shown Zakrzewski’s photo, and it became clear “the person he [thought] was his friend, his buddy, his mentor]” wouldn’t be babysitting him anymore, Oliver said in court.
The babysitter dedicated himself to “years of grooming and normalizing and perfecting the art of exploiting these children sexually” and “hunted every child” as though he “had a how-to book on it.”
“He fooled everyone,” she said on Monday. “He fooled every parent. He fooled every child. And he fooled every victim.”
Zakrzewski, prosecutors said, recorded his crimes obsessively and kept an enormous cache of photos and videos he’d taken “like a treasure, like some sort of medal.”
Zakrzewski’s attorney could not be reached for comment. A sentencing hearing for him is scheduled for Nov. 17, per online court records.