MSP: Suspended Allegan fire chief admitted to child porn

Matthew Gillies
A Nov. 1, 2016 mug shot of Matthew Gillies. (Michigan Department of Corrections)


ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators say a suspended fire chief in Allegan has admitted to consuming and creating child pornography.

Matt Gillies appears via video for his Nov. 1, 2016 arraignment.
Matt Gillies appears via video for his Nov. 1, 2016 arraignment.

Allegan District Fire Chief Matthew Gillies was arraigned Tuesday on one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child under the age of 13, one count of child sexually abusive activity, two counts of using a computer to commit a crime, and one count of possessing child sexually abusive material.

According to the probable cause statement given by Michigan State Police Trooper Gerald Yott, Gillies admitted guilt to all charges during a police interview.

Allegan Fire District locker
A helmet sits in the locker for Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies. (Oct. 26, 2016)

Yott said MSP launched its investigation after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which found the images online.

Yott said Gillies created multiple accounts on Flickr under various names that were later connected to him. Investigators said they found numerous images and videos of child sexually abusive materials in the accounts.

In one of the accounts, MSP said there were three videos uploaded by Gillies that appear to be “manufactured,” involving a 4-year-old girl sleeping. There were also videos that appear to be taken at the fire station because of equipment seen in the video. Those videos did not involve children, but pictures of kids, investigators said.

Allegan Fire Station
An Oct. 26, 2016 photo of the exterior of the Allegan Fire Station.

MSP traced the IP address of one computer used to access the accounts to Charter Communications. A search warrant to Charter helped MSP connect the IP address to the wife of Matthew Gillies and Gillies’ home address. The other computer’s IP address sent investigators to the Allegan District fire station on Monroe Street.

According to the trooper, the images were uploaded from Gillies’ home and the fire station in Allegan.

Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies
Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies is pinned by his wife, Summer. (Allegan Fire District via Facebook)

Despite the evidence, Gillies’ lawyer thinks he has a chance of remaining free.

“It’s my opinion based on what I understand of the charges that he does have viable defenses despite what the officer claims he told him,” said defense attorney Anastasia Markou.

Gillies had been promoted to fire chief on Sept. 7.

Allegan Fire District board member Jon Cook said Gillies was suspended immediately after the board found out about the investigation on Oct. 21. As of Tuesday, he remained on unpaid suspension.

Judge Tuesday granted Gillies a $25,000 cash surety bond with a series of restrictions, including that he cannot use a computer. Gillies was also ordered to be tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

According to the Allegan County Jail, Gillies posted bond on Nov. 1.

If convicted, Gillies could face up to 20 years in prison.

**Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Gillies faced life in prison if convicted. That was incorrect. He actually faces up to 20 years.