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Criminal case against woman charged with bringing child pornography into jail moves forward

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Posted at 2:22 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 17:43:36-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The woman accused of bringing sexually explicit photos of children into the Kent County jail so her ex-boyfriend could view them was in court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing in her case.

At the end of Tuesday’s hearing, her case was bound over to circuit court, meaning the case will likely go to trial.

The 43-year-old woman, who FOX 17 is choosing not to name, is facing two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. She faces the possibility of life in prison if she is convicted.

RELATED: Woman accused of sexually assaulting teen, showing photos of assault to Kent County inmate

Preliminary hearings are meant for a judge to determine whether or not there is probable cause for a case to proceed.

The woman charged appeared briefly alongside her attorney Tuesday, waiving her right to a preliminary exam in front of Judge Jeanine LaVille.

Her attorney also asked Judge LaVille to consider lowering her bond, which is currently set at $250,000 cash/surety.

The judge denied the request to lower bond.

The woman is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl multiple times at a hotel with her ex-boyfriend Matthew Thomas Cook.

Cook has been serving time in the Kent County Jail since May 2021 for charges related to possession of child pornography. The alleged sexually abusive contact happened before Cook was locked up.

Court documents alleged that the woman would "drive her [the 15-year-old victim] to hotels to meet Matthew Cook to have sex with him." They describe the pair tying the young girl by her wrists to a bed and sexually assaulting her for long periods of time.

Documents also allege the woman brought sexually explicit photos of that same 15-year-old girl into the Kent County Jail facility to show Cook during a video visit on-site.

Investigators started looking into Cook and his ex-girlfriend’s activities in the jail in January after a message Cook tried to send from his jail-issued tablet was flagged by a safety protocol system.

MORE: Woman charged with bringing child pornography to ex-boyfriend at Kent County Jail

The tablets, manufactured specifically for inmates, only have limited functionality. While they can’t surf the internet, they are able to send text messages to loved ones on the outside.

All of the messages are heavily monitored and quarantined for later review, if they contain certain words or phrases.

Investigators say one of Cook’s messages was flagged after he used the word “dead.”

In some of the messages, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Cook asked the woman to kill the 15-year-old girl believed to have been sexually assaulted by the pair.

Judge LaVille brought up this alleged request in court Tuesday while considering whether to lower the woman’s bond.

"There was some indication in bond recommendation from the investigating agency that there have been threats made to the victim of this offense," she said.

The woman's attorney responded, "I believe the Prosecutor and I are in agreement that what you’re referring to was a request or demand made by, it's not a co defendant, but it's an individual who is incarcerated in jail."

"It's something done by a third party, that was demanded and or requested of my client, who rejected that demand or request."

Judge Laville cited the alleged incident in her decision to deny lowering it.

After deputies were sent to the teen’s home and determined she was physically safe, they went to talk to Cook’s ex-girlfriend.

According to court documents, the woman confessed at that time to participating in the sexual assaults with Cook before he was sent to jail.

It is unclear what additional charges Cook might face for these allegations.