A Minnesota talent agent accused of molesting two brothers who wanted to become actors was booked into jail early Tuesday, one day after a nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest.
Matthew David Feeney, 43, turned himself in at the Washington County Jail at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday to be held on $200,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court at 10:30 a.m. on two felony charges of criminal sexual conduct -- one for engaging in sexual contact with a 9-year-old boy and a second for abusing a 15-year-old boy while in a position of authority.
The criminal complaint states that Feeney met the brothers through Walden Entertainment in Bloomington, where he is the owner and casting director who works to secure acting roles in movies and television.
"We've seen it over and over again where people in authority get an opportunity to groom kids then abuse them," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.
Investigators say Feeney befriended the brothers and their parents in the fall of 2007, which is when he began providing the boys with casting opportunities and acting classes. By 2009, the boys' mother said she considered Feeney a close family friend and trusted him with her sons.
Charging documents say Feeney often had children at his Cottage Grove home to watch movies, play Xbox and spend the night. He was also known to organize outings like camping trips and days at ValleyFair, as well as trips to film festivals.
Feeney often communicated with the boys through text messages, and frequently asked the then-14-year-old brother to come to his home to watch movies, play video games, or perform work for money.
According to the boys' mother, Feeney often picked up her children and would take them to his home, since she did not have a car of her own in 2009. She estimated they spent a few days a month -- occasionally the entire weekend -- at Feeney's home, though not always with one another.
Investigators say the first instance of sexual contact occurred in May 2009, while the teen was at Feeney's home watching a movie. Between then and the summer of 2011, the victim said there were about 7-8 instances of abuse, where Feeney put his hand down the victim's pants and touched his privates despite the victim's attempts to feign sleep or move Feeney's hand away.
The victim's 9-year-old younger brother said he too was at Feeney's home in December 2009 when Feeney put his hand on the boy's crotch while the two were watching a movie. He told investigators that there were multiple occasions when Feeney would put his hand down his pants from then until November 2011, even though he often pushed his hand away.
The 9-year-old victim said the first assault happened when his leg was broken and he was being carried around the home. After the last assault, the boy said Feeney gave him a computer to take home.
The boy's mother learned about the alleged abuse after her younger son noticed she was posting pictures of her children on Facebook and told her he did not want other people to look at his body. When asked why, he began to cry and told her his acting coach had touched him inappropriately.
She then called in her older son, and he too began to cry and told her he had been touched as well. Neither brother said they knew Feeney had touched the other until the family discussion brought it to light.
In 1992, Feeney was convicted of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct while he was a counselor at a Catholic Youth Camp in Aitkin County. In February of this year, he was charged with indecent assault and batter, enticing a child and unnatural acts in Massachusetts after he was accused of assaulting a 14-year-old boy in his home; however, he posted bail in that case.
Given the access to children Feeney had through his talent agency, authorities worry there may be more victims.