An Uptown man faces multiple felony charges after allegedly soliciting an undercover Cook County Sheriff’s Police officer who was posing as a 15-year-old boy on Grindr, the gay dating app.
Matthew Baldwin, 51, is charged with attempted aggravated criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of a minor, traveling to meet a minor, and grooming a minor. According to the sheriff’s office, he is being placed on electronic monitoring Saturday after posting a $15,000 bail bond.
On September 10, Baldwin struck up a conversation with an undercover officer who posed as a boy named “Juan” on Grindr, prosecutors said. After taking their conversation to WhatsApp, the cop allegedly told Baldwin, “I’m 15, not 18.”
“Aw that’s ok Juan,” Baldwin allegedly replied. “I don’t mind that at all. I like younger guys. LOL.”
The officer then sent Baldwin a photo of an approximately 15-year-old boy. Baldwin sent back a photo of himself in a swimsuit, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond hearing Friday.
Baldwin “sent explicit messages describing sexual activity he wished to engage in with [Juan], suggested that the two meet, and agreed not to tell the boy’s mother,” according to a sheriff’s office statement.
Baldwin and the undercover officer subsequently made several arrangements to meet, but none of them took place.
On October 7, the undercover cop messaged Baldwin, “when I turn 16 I wanna get a car.” One week later, on Wednesday, the two agreed to meet outside the Wilson Red Line station. Baldwin was arrested when he arrived.
After being advised of his Miranda rights, Baldwin told investigators that he believed “Juan” was a 15-year-old boy, that he knew he shouldn’t be talking with a minor, and that he intended to engage in sexual relations with “Juan” after they met, the sheriff’s office said.
While setting bail conditions for Baldwin, Judge John Lyke ordered him to have no contact with anyone under 18 and to stay off the internet, except to make periodic unemployment filings.
Baldwin has no previous arrests, Murphy said.