One of the women the man is accused of secretly photographing when a teen speaks out

NEWARK — News of new federal child porn charges against a former Newark teacher assistant and teacher were both painful, and a relief, for one of the teenage girls he’s accused of secretly photographing while they undressed.

On Monday, federal prosecutors announced charges of production, receipt and possession of child pornography and online enticement of a minor against Matthew Holland, 28.

“It’s definitely been tough,” said Haily Atkins, now 21. “It’s disgusting. He deserves every bit of punishment that he’s going to get.”

Atkins was 16 when she went to Holland’s Newark photography studio and, she says, he used a hidden camera to photograph her in the dressing room, something she discovered only a few weeks ago when she saw the news about Holland on Facebook.

She asked the Newark police about it, and they showed her the video.

“Definitely something I don’t want to see again,” she recalled, “And I don’t know what he did with these photos. He’s had them for five, almost six, years now.”

The newly unveiled federal charges allege Holland, as Snapchat user “Tjohnson755,” pressured girls as young as 13 to send him nude and sexually explicit pictures and that he’d been taking pictures in changing room of his photography studio too.

If he’s convicted, the charges could get him at least 15 years in prison.

“Yeah, it should be at least 100,” Atkins exclaimed. “I don’t think he’s going to ever see the light, the sun as a free man ever again. He shouldn’t. He should never. It’s disgusting.”

The charges touched off fury from parents who went to a meeting of the Newark Board of Education demanding to know how Holland had stayed a teacher in the district for the years he’s accused of sexually exploiting its young students.

The school district has been referring all questions to the Newark Police Department, which said it’s preparing a response to the new federal charges.

Haily Atkins was at that school board meeting, and she said just being there was helpful for her.

“With everything that goes on in this world, it’s just so good to speak out on it," Atkins said.

The case against Holland first emerged through an investigation of his online activities by the sheriff’s department in Leesburg, Virginia.

He was originally charged on state charges there, and he was arraigned on his federal charges in Virginia.

Federal prosecutors say on March 9, 2020, investigators in Virginia received a report that a Snapchat user named “Tjohnson755” had sexually explicit conversations with a 14-year-old. Prosecutors say “Tjohnson755” was identified as Holland, and he coerced the minor to send explicit photos.

He then allegedly threatened to share the pictures when the 14-year-old said she wanted to stop talking to him. Prosecutors say he used the threat to coerce more explicit photos.

Prosecutors say in addition to Newark High School, Holland used to work at the YMCA in Canandaigua, and they believe he recorded people without their knowledge.

Prosecutors say he will be brought to Federal U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York for trial on the federal charges. He is currently being held in Virginia without bail.

Prosecutors are asking anyone with information on Holland, Illumination Images, or Snapchat user “Tjohnson755” to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 716-464-6070 or email hsibuffalotips@ice.dhs.gov.