Underage Grindr sting ends with probation for Uptown man

Chicago — An Uptown man who allegedly solicited an undercover cop who posed as a 15-year-old on the Grindr hookup app has been sentenced to four years of probation, according to court records.

Matthew Baldwin, 54, pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sexual abuse in exchange for the sentence from Judge Peggy Chiampas. Chiampas also sentenced Baldwin to 707 days in confinement, which was satisfied by the time he spent on electronic monitoring before entering his plea. Prosecutors dropped several other felonies in their plea deal with Baldwin.

Matthew Baldwin | Cook County sheriff’s office; Grindr

On September 10, 2020, Baldwin allegedly 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 picture of himself in a swimsuit, prosecutors said during an initial bail hearing after Baldwin’s arrest. 

He “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 2020 sheriff’s office statement.

Officers arrested Baldwin when he showed up outside the Wilson Red Line station to meet the fictitious boy, authorities said.

Baldwin had never been arrested before.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com