Child porn case against suspended Allegan fire chief going to trial

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

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — A suspended Allegan fire chief who investigators say admitted to consuming and creating child pornography is heading to trial.

Allegan Fire District Chief Matthew Gillies waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday morning, sending his case to circuit court.

Gillies is charged with 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.

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

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

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 that contained numerous images and videos of sex abuse against children.

Authorities said some of the videos appeared to be recorded 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 District locker
A helmet sits in the locker for Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies. (Oct. 26, 2016)

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.

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

Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies
Allegan Fire District Chief Matt Gillies stands during his promotion ceremony on Sept. 7, 2016. (Allegan Fire Chief via Facebook)

Allegan Fire District board member Jon Cook said Gillies was suspended immediately after the board found out about the investigation on Oct. 21.

A judge 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.