United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced to local Historic City News reporters today that a federal jury has found 33-year-old Matthew Bryan Caniff guilty of attempted online enticement of a minor child to engage in illegal sexual activity, online solicitation of child pornography, and attempted production of child pornography.
Per testimony and evidence introduced during the trial, from March 31, 2016, through April 1, 2016, Caniff engaged in a series of text conversations of a sexual nature over the Internet with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old child. During these online conversations, Caniff discussed, in detail, his desire to have sex with the “child”. He also made several requests for the “child” to send him images engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
Unbeknownst to Caniff, this “child” was an undercover FBI agent.
In the early morning hours of April 1, 2016, Caniff, who worked as a pharmacy technician at UF Health Shands Hospital, drove his vehicle from his residence at 3830 S.E. 18th Ave., in Gainesville, to an undisclosed residence in St. Johns County to consummate a planned sexual encounter.
He was arrested at the meeting location by St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies. A search of his person revealed that Caniff brought a plastic bag containing several prescription pills that he had taken from the hospital pharmacy and had intended to share with the “child”. Caniff was granted bail at the time of his arrest. He was released after posting a $58,000 bond.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 26, 2017. On the attempted online enticement count, Caniff faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, up to life, in prison. He also faces a minimum of 15 years, up to 30 years’ imprisonment each on the solicitation and the attempted production charges.
This case was investigated by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.