Orange County Babysitter Convicted of Molesting 17 Boys

Orange County Babysitter Convicted of Molesting 17 Boys

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service


Updated: 10/3/2023

SANTA ANA, Calif.—A 34-year-old child care service provider from Costa Mesa was convicted on Oct. 3 of molesting 17 boys, aged 2 to 14.
Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski was convicted by the Orange County Superior Court jury of 34 felony sex charges related to 17 victims in crimes that prosecutors said took place from 2014 through 2019.
He faces a maximum of 690 years to life in prison when he’s sentenced on Nov. 17.
“The entire book is in defendant’s hard drive,” Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver said during her closing argument of the trial Monday, referencing a pedophilia book on Mr. Zakrzewski’s computer. “In it there’s a chapter titled Hunting Season. ... When the defendant reached out to [one of his victims] saying ‘Let me be his occasional babysitter,’ he was hunting [the boy]. He was hunting every family in this case. ... He wasn’t just reading the book, he could have written the book.”
Ms. Oliver argued that the defendant videotaped much of the evidence against him.
“He’s as brazen as he can be,” Ms. Oliver said.
In one of the videos, a victim was seen lying on him nude as the defendant “caressed” him to “normalize” the molestation, Ms. Oliver argued.
Mr. Zakrzewski is seen in another video touching himself with a boy in his lap, the prosecutor argued. When he finished, the defendant allegedly said, “Thank you,” Ms. Oliver said, adding, “There are no words.”
With one of the boys he played a game the defendant called “rocket ship,” with the victim on his lap, and he declared, “It feels like we’re having sex,” Ms. Oliver said.
“All of this was videotaped,” she said.
“None of the parents knew each other,” Ms. Oliver told the jury. “The children didn’t know each other. ... The defendant was a mastermind ... grooming the parents to believe he was the perfect fit to protect each of the children. ... It is every parents’ worst nightmare.”
Mr. Zakrzewski touted his work with children with behavioral disabilities and advertised that he had years of experience, was CPR trained, and had background checks, Ms. Oliver said.
Many of the victims were 6 to 9 years old, the prosecutor said.
Jennifer Ryan of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office argued that while her client was charged with showing pornography to some of the victims, photos depicting nudity and sex acts are not necessarily “harmful” matter as charged.
“Each charge has separate laws, separate guides,” she cautioned jurors.
She rebutted one charge of her client directing a dog to lick the private parts of one of the victims, saying there was no evidence of Mr. Zakrzewski directing the canine to perform such an act.
“Cameras are running all the time,” she said. “But they want you to believe something that was not depicted happened. ... That is not in evidence.”
Ms. Ryan also argued that some of the evidence in the trial showed “two kids running around” in their underwear.
“That’s not harmful material,” she argued. “Sometimes kids run around without their clothes. ... There’s nothing wrong with a little boy running around in shorts. ... That’s not against the law.”
Ms. Oliver countered that there was a staggering volume of videos, and investigators never even went through all of them.
“There was no suggestion—by me or anyone else—that cameras were running all the time,” Ms. Oliver said. “Do not let defendant’s arguments fool you. ... He deserves nothing short of 34 verdicts of guilt.”
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