Ex-Navy officer sentenced for attempting to lure 13-year-old for sex

SAN DIEGO – A former Navy lieutenant commander in San Diego was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for trying to entice an underage girl — really an undercover Homeland Security agent — into having sex with him.

Matthew Perry Maples, 38, pleaded guilty to attempted enticement of a minor and could have faced life in prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Maples placed an online advertisement titled “daddy looking for daughter-m4w” in July. Homeland Security agents noticed the ad and an undercover agent responded, posing as a young teen.

Prosecutors said that over the course of around two weeks, Maples — who was in the Navy at the time — communicated with the undercover agent who he thought was 13, telling her he would teach her “how to kiss and make out” and making more explicit statements about what they could do. He also asked about her virginity and sent a nude photograph of himself, prosecutors said.

On several occasions, Maples said he needed to be careful so he did not end up going to prison, saying on one occasion, “I have watched too much TV of police officers posing as young women luring men like me into a sting. I just have to keep telling myself it’s real,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors said the defendant even asked the “girl” to send a picture of her making a peace symbol, so he could “know you are real.”

He was arrested on July 21 at a hotel in Point Loma, where he had reserved a room and was waiting to meet with her, prosecutors said. They said he admitted he believed he was talking with a 13-year-old girl, and he intended to engage in sexual activity with her at the hotel.