A Florida judge sentenced a man to 20 years in prison after the child he sexually abused on a regular basis committed suicide, reports the Daily News.
Thomas Matassa, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography in April.
Matassa was also charged with sexual battery of a child in February 2016 after a relative accused him of sexually assaulting him from a young age. The relative was a minor.
Four days before the deposition case, the minor committed suicide, forcing the charges against Matassa to be dropped.
Investigators found 300,000 messages related to child sex, along with 200 images of sex acts with children on his computer.
When Matassa was a juvenile, he was convicted of a child sex offense. He was deemed as an “excellent prognosis for not being a repeat offender” by the doctor who evaluated him.
The child who accused the man of abusing him said that he was only 7 years old when Matassa began to sexually assault him. It happened at a family home in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
The victim’s mother said that Matassa robbed her son of his childhood and that his suicide was a direct result of the abuse.
Before being sentenced, Matassa told the court that he “should have made better choices.” He also apologized for the horrors he put his victim through.
“I’ve hurt so many people, a life cannot just come back into existence.”
Matassa received the maximum penalty for the child pornography, with Judge M. Casey Rodgers intent on getting justice for the child despite the dropped battery charges.
Rodgers told Matassa that he was directly responsible for the child’s death and that he might as well have been the one that committed murder.
“The fact is, you did not pull the trigger … but you might as well have … You destroyed that young man”
Once Matassa is released from prison, he will remain on lifetime supervision. He will be required to receive permission from his supervisor to access a computer and will be barred from any type of pornography.
[Feature photo: Santa Rosa County Jail]