California

Male nanny sexually abused 17 boys as young as 2 years old, California prosecutors say

On his since-deleted website, Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski described himself as a “big brother” and “role model” to children — a male nanny who babysat young boys across Southern California, armed with certifications in lifeguarding and first aid, the Los Angeles Times reports.

But earlier this year Zakrzewski, a 30-year-old Costa Mesa resident, was arrested on felony sexual abuse charges involving children, and Orange County prosecutors announced Friday that he’s now accused of victimizing a total of 17 children from January 2014 to May 2019.

The boys Zakrzewski is accused of abusing range in age from 2 to 12, prosecutors said.

“These parents were led to believe that they could trust this man with the most precious thing in their entire world — their children,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Instead, he preyed on these innocent boys and violated that trust in a vile and sadistic way.”

Laguna Beach police arrested Zakrzewski on May 17 after he got off an international flight at a local airport, prosecutors said. At that point, he was charged with three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14, a felony count of oral copulation of a child under 10 and a felony count of possession of child pornography, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Zakrzewski pleaded not guilty to those earlier charges. He’s being held at the Orange County Jail on $1.25 million bail, according to prosecutors.

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His May arrest came after a Laguna Beach couple reported to police “that their babysitter, Zakrzewski, had touched their 8-year-old son inappropriately” — and that they were worried there were other victims, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that “as the investigation progressed, additional victims were identified through video evidence and tips from the public, resulting in additional charges being filed against Zakrzewski.”

Zakrzewski is now charged with 33 felony counts total: 27 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14 and two counts of distributing pornography to a minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct, as well as one count each of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10, possession of child pornography, using a minor for sex acts and attempted lewd or lascivious act with a minor under 14.

If convicted on all 33 charges, Zakrzewski faces 690 years to life plus eight years behind bars, prosecutors said.

“Anyone who has information related to this investigation or any other unreported incidents involving Zakrzewski is urged to call the Laguna Beach Investigations Division line at (949) 715-1300,” prosecutors said.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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