A former Angleton and Pearland police officer will serve six months in jail and five years of probation for felony invasive visual recording of a 12-year-old girl, District Judge Terri Holder decided.
This was the maximum sentence Holder could give to Jon Matherne, 53, that would still allow him to be supervised after his release, she said in her courtroom Friday. If she sentenced him to the maximum two years in jail as the prosecution recommended, he would not be supervised upon release, she said.
On Aug. 15, 2018, a now 13-year-old girl went to take a shower and saw a “charger” plugged into an outlet in her bathroom, she said, but recognized that it was a hidden camera from a YouTube video she had seen, she said during the two-day punishment trial in September.
She knew Matherne, who was a father figure to her since she was 4, she said.
She covered up the camera with a towel while she showered, she said.
Matherne has been forthcoming with law enforcement and his family, admitting his guilt in the matter, his family testified for the defense.
Matherne spent 18 years with the Pearland Police Department and was an Angleton Police Department detective sergeant in the 1990s, according to The Facts archives.
Matherne pleaded guilty to the state-jail felony invasive visual recording charge while a third-degree felony tampering with evidence charge, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, pends in the court system, online records show. That crime relates to the alleged deletion of evidence during the week between when the girl found the camera and when her mother reported it to the police.
People take responsibility and are sorry after committing crimes for two reasons, Holder said. Sometimes they are sorry they got caught and only remorseful because they are embarrassed, she said.
Or, they are sorry they committed a crime and feel deep sorrow and humbleness “that I don’t see in Mr. Matherne,” Holder said.
Holder considered all the facts of the case, she said. The girl’s mother made it clear she thinks the only reason Matherne didn’t face higher charges is that he’s a peace officer, Holder said, while Matherne believes he’s only facing jail time instead of probation because he’s a peace officer.
“It’s clear he was appropriately charged in this case based on the facts the state has,” Holder said.
If he goes to jail for two years, as the state aggressively recommended, he would serve it day-to-day without any parole or continued supervision, Holder said.
Holder had to decide how to punish a violation of trust that could take a lifetime to rebuild, she said. She wanted that punishment to include rehabilitation, prevent repeat behavior and ensure Matherne understands his crime.
“I’m not sure that he views what he did as wrong,” Holder said.
She decided on five years of probation with six months in jail as a condition of that probation, along with a sex offender caseload and the condition that Matherne will never live with anyone younger than 17. If he violates any terms of his probation, he could serve up to two years in jail.
Defense Attorney Charles Kinsey argued that Matherne had lost everything by pleading guilty and becoming a convicted felon, including his ability to make a living.
Before the formal sentencing, Kinsey asked Holder to “grant probation so he can go about the rest of his life and try to redeem himself in society.”
Prosecutor Kenyata Thompson said Matherne’s defense only focused on himself, instead of the 13-year-old girl’s life he ruined.
“He’s sitting in that chair because of what he did,” Thompson said.
That girl had more courage than he did to tell the courtroom exactly how Matherne made her feel by his actions, she said.
Other evidence gathered during the investigation indicates the camera might have been in the girl’s bedroom on other occasions, Prosecutor Travis Townsend said. Once is a problem and more than once is predatory, he said.
“This was an act of predatory behavior,” Townsend said.
Matherne showed little emotion in the courtroom and was in Brazoria County jail Friday afternoon after the sentencing, according to online records.