Matthew Bessette, 45, of Wausau. July 14, 2022: Possession of child pornography, failure to maintain sex offender registration

By Shereen Siewert

A Wausau sex offender is facing felony charges after investigators discovered explicit photos and videos of children on his phone, according to court documents.

Police say 45-year-old Matthew Bessette sent money via PayPal to a suspect in Mexico allegedly involved in the sale of child sexual abuse material. Bessette also had 40 accounts for emails and social media applications, a violation of the sex offender registry. Bessette is required to report any accounts for websites or other social media applications as part of the registry but only reported a single email address and Facebook profile, court documents show.

Investigators searched Bessette’s home in the 700 block of 5th Avenue on July 7 and seized four cell phones, a thumb drive, a laptop and a tablet. Police say PayPal provided information in reference to the transfer of funds by Bessette.

Bessette, who was convicted of sexual assault in 1999, now faces charges of possessing child pornography and a sex registry violation. The charges were filed July 14 in Marathon County Circuit Court, when he was ordered held on a $1,000 cash bond.

A preliminary hearing is set for July 25.