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Woman's undercover work with police leads to man's arrest on attempted child rape, solicitation charges

Updated: Friday, November 1 2013, 09:35 AM CDT
Reported by: Donna Kirker Morgan

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP -- A 29-year-old Lower Paxton Township man is accused tonight of trying to have sex with two young girls. He was nabbed in an undercover operation that involved a local woman who put herself in legal jeopardy to prevent a child from possibly being harmed. We decided not to identify this woman. 

She has a cleaning business that is advertised on Craigslist. That’s how the suspect, Matthew B. Baratucci, reportedly found her. The woman says, faced with poverty, she made a decision to provide a sexual massage to Baratucci.

However, in October court records say Baratucci ask the woman if she could connect him  with young girls. She refused and called police, first reporting the concern to police in Penbrook, Dauphin County. “I’d rather put myself in (a) predicament where I could get in trouble than to have something like that happen to a child,” she told CBS 21 News in an exclusive interview.

That’s when the state attorney general's office got involved. Agents in the office’s child predator unit launched an investigation through the internet and other devices.

The court records say an agent made contact with Baratucci and began watching his Lower Paxton Township home.

The investigation stalled because when the agents refused to send naked photos of girls Baratucci reportedly cut off contact, fearing he was talking to police.

Yet, he kept texting this woman, according to the records. Again she helped police out, handing over her phone to agents so that they could make him think he was still talking with her about getting young girls. She says that he was persistent, pressing for her to assist him. “I'd rather have him seek help, but obviously he's not going to go for help. He was going to go out and do something that was incorrigible,” she said.

This week, Baratucci was arrested in a local parking lot and booked for multiple counts of criminal attempted rape of a child and solicitation. He thought he was meeting with the woman to have sex with two young girls.

Instead, he was swarmed by agents form the AG’s office and arrested. Court records say that Baratucci told the arresting officers that he was trying to get evidence against the woman and that is why he was at the parking lot.

He did not post bail and is in Dauphin County Prison as of Thursday night.

Woman's undercover work with police leads to man's arrest on attempted child rape, solicitation charges

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