On Thursday, December 22, 2022 the following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Florida. Some of the details disclosed in this release may be triggering to some readers.
Jacksonville, Florida – United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard has sentenced Scott Matthew Yotka (48, Jacksonville) to 60 years in federal prison for producing and distributing photos and a video depicting himself as he sexually abused two young children. Yotka was also ordered to serve a lifetime term of supervised release and register as a sex offender. Yotka was arrested on September 17, 2021, and has been detained since then. He had pleaded guilty on May 13, 2022.
According to court documents, on September 15, 2021, Yotka, using the name “Scottnjax44,” engaged in online private conversations using a particular social media application (app) with an undercover FBI task force officer (UC) in Washington, D.C. Yotka discussed his ongoing sexual exploitation of children in graphic detail and stated that he had access to two very young children whom he enjoyed molesting. Yotka commented that these children “squirm … and have that look like let’s just get this over with” whenever he sexually abused them. Yotka sent the undercover officer several photos and a video depicting two young children being sexually abused by Yotka. When the UC asked how he kept the children quiet about the molestation, Yotka replied that “they [are] young and don’t talk lol.” The FBI traced this online messaging to Yotka’s residence in Jacksonville and also determined that the same “Scottnjax44” user account was accessed from the City of Jacksonville offices located in the Ed Ball Building in downtown Jacksonville. Agents then coordinated with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) and confirmed that Yotka was at that time employed by JSO as a Police Emergency Communications Officer. Late in the evening on September 16, 2021, a federal search warrant was obtained for Yotka’s residence.
Early in the morning on September 17, 2021, the FBI, assisted by the JSO, executed the search warrant and made contact with Yotka at his residence. During an interview with law enforcement, Yotka confirmed that he was the administrator of a chat room on the social media app for individuals interested in “incest fetishes, little kid things, [and] animal things.” Yotka admitted sending explicit pictures of young children to another app user. He also admitted taking photos of these children as he molested them and used a particular foreign object to sexually abuse them. Yotka stated “I know what I did” and “I’m not proud of what I did.” An FBI forensic examiner was able to recover from Yotka’s cellphone the same photos and video depicting Yotka sexually abusing these two children that Yotka had sent to the UC on September 15, 2021.
“The exploitation of children requires swift and aggressive law enforcement action, which is exactly what occurred in this case,” said Sherri E. Onks, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Jacksonville. “Our children are among the most vulnerable members of our community, and the FBI works diligently alongside our partners to locate individuals who seek to harm them. All predators, especially those in positions of community service, should know that we will stop at nothing to find and stop you, and seek justice for innocent victims.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville and Washington, D.C., and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown. Assistant United States Attorney Mai Tran handled the forfeiture of assets.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue child victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.