Tuscaloosa man charged after sending teen inappropriate messages
A Tuscaloosa man who volunteered with special needs children and ran for local office is facing misdemeanor charges of making harassing communications after investigators say he attempted to bribe a teenager with money and gifts for nude photos and sex.
Elmore County court documents, viewable below, show 36-year-old Matt Hood is accused of sending escalating Instagram private messages to a teenage boy in February. The teen told a teacher about the messages, and the teacher contacted the victim’s mother, who called police.
According to the documents, the messages began with Hood telling the teen that he could be the face of an organization promoting baseball for disabled children and that Hood could help him get into college at the University of Alabama.
After several days of chatting, Hood began offering money in exchange for nude pictures of the teen. According to court documents, the victim did not send any photos, but Hood sent the teen money via Venmo and a photo of his credit card, as well as a cellphone.
In 2021, Hood ran for the District 3 Tuscaloosa City Council seat but lost to Norman Crow. He’s also volunteered at several organizations serving children with special needs, including Best Buddies, the Miracle League and Arts ‘n Autism.
WVUA 23 spoke with Hood today, and he said he’s no longer involved with those programs. Hood also denied the charges and said he expects them to be dropped, but did not speak further because of the ongoing investigation.
Hood is charged with making harassing communications, which is a Class-C misdemeanor charge and can result in a 90-day jail sentence and a fine of as much as $500. He was processed at the Elmore County Jail and released on a $500 bond and has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His trial is scheduled for May.