Hartselle Man Pleads Guilty to Attempted Kidnapping and Sexual Assault

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –  Yesterday, a Hartselle man pleaded guilty to using the internet to orchestrate an attempted kidnapping and sexual assault, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr.

Matthias Jacob Edward Mann, 22, of Hartselle, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallon to attempted kidnapping and attempted inducement of an individual to travel in interstate commerce to commit an illegal sex act. As part of the plea agreement, the parties stipulated to a 180-month term of imprisonment for Mann’s crimes.

According to the plea agreement, on December 29, 2021, an undercover detective with the Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department was monitoring the public Kik group “Abduction and R@pe 3.” During that time, the Kik User “Dylan H.,” who was determined to be Mann, posted in the group, asking for someone to abduct and sexually assault a woman from Wisconsin. The undercover detective responded and told Dylan H. that he was in Minnesota and would be interested.

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On December 30, 2021, the undercover detective recorded a telephone conversation with Mann. On the call, Mann confirmed that his request for the abduction and sexual assault of the victim was not a fantasy. Mann provided the undercover detective with photos and a physical address of the victim, who he stated was a former friend.  Mann requested a video to confirm that the abduction and sexual assault was carried out as requested.  During their subsequent conversations, Mann agreed to pay the undercover detective gas money to travel to Wisconsin from Minnesota and approximately $2,000.00 once the abduction and sexual assault had been completed. Mann paid the undercover detective $75 on January 5, 2022.

Federal agents arrested Mann on the morning of January 6, 2022, in Hartselle, Alabama.

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“This case highlights the dangers of the internet and how an online relationship can quickly take a turn into dangerous territory. Law enforcement is to be commended for their quick response across four states and among several different local, state, and federal agencies. They coordinated their efforts to ensure that the victim was safe, and then worked expeditiously to identify the defendant and arrest him.” said U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona. 

“The crimes that Mann has pled guilty to are deplorable. I’m proud of the work of my agents and our partners to bring him to the justice he deserves,” said Johnnie Sharp, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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The FBI-Birmingham Division investigated the case along with the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Police Department; Owatonna, Minnesota Police Department; and FBI-Atlanta Division.  Hartselle Police Department also provided assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura D. Hodge and John M. Hundscheid are prosecuting the case.