GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — In an environment that should have been secure and nurturing, a Gallia County in-home daycare became a nightmare for multiple victims of a sexual predator.

Matthew W. Case, 43, of Rio Grande, admitted in the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas to rape and touching multiple victims all girls between the ages of three and seven. Case pleaded guilty to a bill of information to 10 counts of rape and six counts of gross sexual imposition. Case waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to the charges outlined in a bill of information. Case appeared with his attorney, Rick Hedges.

Two of the victims told an adult what had happened. The adult then went to local authorities according to Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney Jason D. Holdren. The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation Crimes Against Children Unit, Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, and FBI Columbus Child Exploitation Task Force worked on the investigation leading to Case being arrested in April. Holdren stressed in court and in an interview following the court proceedings that this was an ongoing investigation. The sexual assaults happened between May 1, 2016, and April 12, 2017 while the children were at the in-home daycare. Due to the in-home daycare reporting to have cared for fewer than six children at a time, it was not required to be licensed by the state of Ohio according to a statement released by Ohio Attorney General’s Office.


Case was a volunteer firefighter in the community, a point that made many parents feel safer having their children at the daycare.

My agents spoke with many parents who felt reassured by that fact that a firefighter lived at the in-home daycare, but this defendant was truly a predator in disguise,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Our big concern right now is that he may have victimized even more children over the years, and we encourage anyone with additional information on potential victims to contact law enforcement.”

DeWine encouraged anyone with more information to come forward. The number of victims is still be determined. As part of the plea agreement made in court, Case is to identify all of his victims. Holdren stressed that their focus in the investigation remains the children that have been victimized. He said the plea means Case will go to prison, but the victims do not have to go through the additional trauma of a trial. According to the recommendations with the plea agreement, Case is facing 180 years in prison.

“Due to the heinous nature of these crimes and the age of the victims involved, my office wanted to bring justice to this situation as swiftly as possible,” said Holdren. “These victims are young children, some of whom still do not have the ability to truly voice what they have experienced. Our goal is to bring an end to this sexual violence and assist in helping these victims and their families begin the long process of healing. If you have been, or suspect your child has been, victimized by Matthew Case, you may contact my office for support services and counseling referrals.”

Case appeared before Judge Margaret Evans. She carefully explained his rights, what the plea means and that he was waiving his right to a grand jury trial. The courtroom was nearly filled with loved ones of the young victims.

Case was wearing a bullet proof vest in the courtroom. There was also a strong security presence in and outside the courtroom from the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Matt Champlin said there had not been specific threats made toward Case. He said it was precautionary to have the bullet proof vest and additional security.

As Judge Evans meticulously went through each count including the rights and legal litany outlining each count, the family and loved ones of the victims remained silent, though many could not hold back tears.

Case simply answered “yes, your honor” or “no, your honor” for most of the proceedings. His bond was revoked. The identification of his victims is ongoing along with the investigation. According to Holdren, child pornography was also found in the home.

“This investigation is a result of our officers responding rapidly to protect the victims and prevent any future crimes of abuse from occurring,” added Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin. “Taking advantage of the vulnerability of children is an unthinkable act and we will continue in our efforts to identify victims who may have been abused.”

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone who believes their child may have had inappropriate contact with Matthew Case is urged to call the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office at 740-446-0018; the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 855-BCI-OHIO (224-6446); or the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office at 740-446-1221.

Case will be sentenced before Gallia County Common Pleas Judge Margaret Evans on May 25, 2017.

Each count of rape carries a penalty of 15 years to life in prison. Each count of gross sexual imposition carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. If served consecutively as the plea agreement stipulates, Case will be sentenced to 180 years in prison.