MILWAUKEE (WISN) — A 19-year-old man convicted in a sextortion case involving a Shorewood High School student was a no-show at his sentencing on Wednesday, submitting instead a photo of a doctor’s note to explain his absence.
Defense attorney Travis Schwantes said his client sent the photo to his mother, who then passed it on to the court.
“It says, ‘Please excuse Matthew Cullen-Williams from’, and then work/school is crossed out, and it says ‘court,'” Schwantes said.
The move incensed prosecutor Erin Karshen, who expressed doubt about the legitimacy of the teen’s absence and concern that Cullen-Williams was causing further harm to his victims, who traveled to Milwaukee from out of town for the hearing.
“Mr. Cullen-Williams is now manipulating the situation to attempt to attempt to get rid of their victims’ rights to attend its sentencing or at a minimum to make it as difficult as possible for these victims,” she told the court.
Cullen-Williams was supposed to face the judge on charges of child pornography, stalking and posting sexually-explicit images without consent. Court documents allege that between 2014 and 2018, Cullen-Williams created more than 16 fake social media accounts to harass a high school student into sending him sexually explicit images and into sex with him.
“He created in-depth personas of people who didn’t exist that he kept lingering on for years, and he did this to manipulate people,” Karshen said. “He did this so he could control their lives.”
Cullen-Williams faces nearly 14 years in prison.
A follow-up status hearing was scheduled for Friday afternoon.