Fresno lawyer arrested for alleged child sex crimes

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The Fresno County Sheriff's Department says they have arrested Steven Matlak twice over the past two weeks for separate incidents. (KFSN)

A Fresno civil attorney at a large law firm has been arrested on child sex abuse charges for the second time in the last two weeks. Steven Matlak, 40, is now facing multiple felony charges for the alleged crimes.

Sheriff's deputies won't say how many victims there are so far but did say the ones they're aware of who've been preyed upon are all between five and 10 years old.

Matlak was not only a lawyer for a Fresno law firm but also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and is now sitting in jail. Sheriff's deputies say multiple children have come forward claiming Matlak inappropriately touched them.

"Unfortunately, we come across cases every day where it's people you put the most trust into and they deceive you," Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said. "And this is a prime example of that."

Matlak was first arrested on sex abuse charges just two weeks ago after a five-year-old girl came forward saying Matlak touched her and took naked pictures of her. Then one day later, a nine-year-old victim came forward and claiming the same thing.

Matlak was arrested and bailed himself out. Deputies say while he was released, detectives continued investigating.

"They established more victims in the community interviewed them and their families and found out he had taken advantage of others," Botti said.

And on Thursday, he was rearrested.

The senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church says Matlak has been a member there since 2009. A flyer on the church's website shows Matlak even held bible studies at his home for children where they could swim and learn about God.

The church says they've already begun ministering to the people who've been impacted saying in a statement in part, "Our hope is that the truth is made known and that we can all work together toward restoration and healing."

The law firm Matlak worked for says he has not been employed with them since the investigation began two weeks ago, and also released a statement that reads in part, they are "shocked by the charges against Steven Matlak. Our hearts go out to those who have been hurt by his actions."

Matlak is being held on $380,000 bail at the Fresno County Jail. Detectives say they've served search warrants at his former law firm and home and have seized his electronic devices, they say they're currently analyzing those items for evidence.
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