Christchurch pornographer shamed by victims in US court

The women's videos were uploaded to a website dedicated to identifying people who appear in...
The women's videos were uploaded to a website dedicated to identifying people who appear in pornography - without their knowledge or consent. Photo: Getty Images

Warning: Distressing content

A Christchurch man is facing life in a United States prison after he helped his childhood friend trick scores of women into becoming porn stars.

Matthew Isaac Wolfe has been confronted by 11 victims of the “horrible, vindictive, heartless” scheme he was part of.

His sentencing in a district court has been split across two dates, with the women facing Wolfe to read their victim impact statements, giving powerful insights into the damage - and almost deaths - he caused.

Senior journalist Anna Leask reports.

Wolfe’s victims have lived in the shadows for years - terrified people will recognise them from the pornographic videos they were duped into being part of.

The constant paranoia, worry, and fear was exhausting. Had their colleagues, bosses, wedding guests, children’s teachers and strangers in the street seen the videos?

They’ve been stalked, harassed, threatened and blackmailed.

And now they want justice.

“A decade ago, Wolfe sentenced me to a lifetime of fear, anxiety, and loneliness,” one woman said.

“I have lived with the shame, the fear, the blame, and the consequences long enough and so have the other survivors.

“It is now Mr Wolfe’s turn to carry that burden.”

Matthew Isaac Wolfe. Photo: supplied
Matthew Isaac Wolfe. Photo: supplied

Wolfe’s actions drove some of the women to attempt suicide - and many of them to seriously consider it.

“Every day since meeting Mr Wolfe, I have had to make a very conscious decision just to stay alive. Living is a daily debate with myself, not a certainty,” said one woman.

“There are days I wish I had died … because dying would have been less painful.

“All I want to do is hide … I dream of fading into oblivion.”

Two of Wolfe’s co-offenders have already been jailed - recruiter, actor and producer Ruben Garcia to 20 years and cameraman Theodore Gyi to four years.

Schoolboy friend, fellow Kiwi and co-defendant Michael Pratt, along with bookkeeper Valorie Moser, are awaiting sentencing.

“Wolfe lied to and preyed on vulnerable young women, subjecting them to years of relentless harassment, fear and mental anguish,” said Stacey Moy, special agent in charge of the FBI San Diego Field Office.

The terrible crimes of Matthew Isaac Wolfe

In July 2022, Wolfe pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.

He admitted he moved to the US in 2011 to work for his mate Pratt, who owned the now-defunct GirlsDoPorn website.

Pratt and Wolfe met at primary school in Christchurch and while they attended different secondary schools - Christchurch Boys’ High School and Burnside High, respectively - they remained friends.

Straight out of school, Pratt and Wolfe entered the porn industry, launching three porn sites in 2000.

In the US, Wolfe persuaded women aged between 18 and 23 to appear in adult videos - telling them the videos would never be posted online or released in the US.

Further, he promised that no one who knew the women would ever find out about their production.

Despite his promises, Wolfe was well aware that personal identifying information and social media accounts for some women were being posted a site controlled by Pratt and dedicated to “exposing” the true identities of individuals appearing in sex videos.

Michael James Pratt is awaiting extradition to the United States. Photo: supplied
Michael James Pratt is awaiting extradition to the United States. Photo: supplied

Many of those duped into filming were struggling financially and were offered between $US3000 and $US5000 ($NZ5000 to $NZ8000) as payment, as well as an “all expenses” trip to San Diego.

They were taken to motel rooms where the footage was filmed.

The videos were then posted to the company’s subscription-based website, while shorter versions were posted to some of the world’s largest pornography sites.

The videos were viewed more than a billion times - a conservative figure that doesn’t take into account pirated copies of the files.

Wolfe admitted to filming about 100 videos and faces a maximum of life in prison for his offending.

Pratt went on the run in 2019 and was on the FBI’s list of 10 Most Wanted Fugitives before his arrest in Spain in December 2022.

He is also facing life in prison on 19 charges, including sex trafficking, production of child pornography, sex trafficking of a minor and money laundering.


‘The survivors get their voices back’ - the women in their own words

At Wolfe’s first hearing, 11 women stood up to describe the impact his offending had on their lives. More are expected to read at his final sentencing.

The New Zealand Herald has obtained a full transcript of the women’s statements so far - spanning 46 harrowing pages.

Jane Doe 1

She was a “happy, outgoing” 18-year-old student - until she responded to an ad placed online by Wolfe for models.

“That ad seemed harmless, but it wrecked my entire life. In an instant, the life I had was gone: My hopes gone, my relationships gone, everything was gone,” she said.

“I will never forget the day my friend told me my video was going viral among everyone we knew … My video was the second-most-watched video on Pornhub. I got well over 300 million views.

“The fallout from the videos spread to every part of my life like cancer, and that cancer remains to this day, making it virtually impossible for me to start a new life.”

She had to quit university and “go into hiding”. She was harassed, stalked, and even assaulted as a result of her video being published.

“I am constantly looking over my shoulder and on high alert all the time. It is exhausting,” she said.

“I have thoughts of suicide frequently to end this, and I try to be okay, but it is not easy.”

She said Wolfe “made a living by stealing young women’s lives” and exploiting them.

“You have been Mike Pratt’s right-hand man through all of this and you just know how horrible, vindictive and heartless he is … you just know how morally corrupt and wicked he is.

“Matthew Wolfe stole my life, and it wasn’t just my life. He stole hundreds of lives.”

Jane Doe 2

“A huge part of me died in 2015,” the woman said.

“I was in my second semester of college when this happened... the video put me in a very dark place.

“I isolated myself from everyone I knew for years. I was harassed and blackmailed all the time, and it became too much to handle, which led to me having the worst social anxiety and not trusting anyone.

“I’ve spent the majority of my 20s in hiding, and those are years of my life that I won’t get back.

“I truly hated myself for so long … It’s changed who I am completely.”

She wanted to face Wolfe in court because it was important to her to “close this chapter” after being “dragged through hell for years”.

“I pray all the other women are continuing to grow past what we went through - it takes a lot of strength to pull yourself out of a dark place and the fact we’ve made it this far says a lot,” she said.

The women were devastated when their videos went viral and some feared leaving their homes....
The women were devastated when their videos went viral and some feared leaving their homes. Others thought of suicide to escape the relentless attention.

Jane Doe 5

“The single most vivid memory I have of being inside of that hotel room was of Wolfe,” she told the court.

“I had never experienced so much pain and exhaustion in my life than I did in that room.

“When I have trouble falling asleep - which is almost nightly - that’s the moment I see when I close my eyes, as if it was yesterday.

“The filming continued after that for several more hours because Wolfe consistently wanted to reshoot things, and instructed me to look like I was enjoying it more, despite my obvious pain. I was too afraid to protest.

“Little did I know that the worst was yet to come.”

Wolfe’s offending had “plagued all aspects” including her engagement where her first thought was standing in front of her wedding guests wondering who had seen the video.

“The emotional duress that I carry isn’t something I would wish on anyone,” she said.

“Nearly everything I do is built on a foundation of fear and stress and one I will never be able to shake... it will never be completely purged from my life.

“Mr Wolfe was the first person that taught me how truly wicked people can be. He robbed me of my innocence.”

Jane Doe 7

“The worst thing you did was that you caused me to fear my own name,” she told Wolfe.

“Can you imagine being scared of your own name? Not only do I fear the sound, the visual, the thought, but I’m, like, literally traumatised by it.”

The woman grew up in foster care and when she turned 18 and “aged out” she was excited to finally have control of her own life.

“I felt strong, invincible, and unbreakable. I had already overcome so much at such a young age. I had such a bright future. I had so many hopes and dreams, and I was so excited for my life ahead,” she said.

She graduated high school, was excited to start college and was carving out a name for herself in beauty pageants.

But then she became embroiled in “a worldwide porn scandal”.

“These last 12 years, I have cried enough tears to truly believe I could fill a lake … This isn’t supposed to be a sob story. I’ve struggled, and I’ve overcome, and I’ve fought really hard to be where I am today ... but I’ll never be complete because you’ve stolen a piece of my life from me.”

The woman said she was “deeply scarred” by Wolfe’s offending.

“It will stay with me to the day I die,” she said.

“I wish for one day that you could just feel what it felt like because I know you wouldn’t be able to handle it.

“I’ll never get closure. I’ll never be the same. This is not just a chapter in a book I can close or pick up where I left off - there’s no erase, rewind. No apology, or amount of time or justice that will make me feel better.

“You’ve smothered red ink across all the future pages of the book of my life.”

In her eyes, Wolfe was a “cruel and evil person” and “worse than a serial murderer”.

“This person was meticulous, calculated, fraudulent, aggressive, and he ultimately sabotaged and tortured all of us,” she explained.

“He knew what he was doing every time… If there could be a death penalty, I truly believe he would deserve it.”

Jane Doe 11

She was a brilliant student with a promising future. She was active in her church and community.

And then she met Wolfe.

“To say Mr Wolfe’s malicious scheme has altered the trajectory of my life would be a massive understatement,” she told Judge Sammartino.

“The video of me at my most vulnerable went viral in my life overnight. Everyone who knew me watched it and then passed it along to others.

“Within days, the life I had built was gone. I was excommunicated from my church, which crushed me … I was blacklisted by everyone who knew me and had no support during the darkest hour of my life.

“I went into a deep depression and became a recluse. I fought for a long time to keep suicidal ideations at bay.”

She suffered from “harrowing” PTSD and had become a “hermit”.

“Without the money to afford therapy, I turned to alcohol and ways to cope with the depression,” she said.

“I also live in constant fear. The video has been viewed tens of millions of times. My real name and personal information were released on websites … allowing stalkers and trolls to easily find me.

“A simple Google search of my name pulls up links or screenshots of the video … This has caused me to miss out on many opportunities... I will forever bear an unwarranted scarlet letter.”

Her husband had also been “dragged through the mud” and photos of their children stolen from family social media pages and posted on “malicious” blogs and websites with “vile and gutwrenching” comments.

She urged Judge Sammartino to jail Wolfe for a lengthy period.

“Even if I were his only victim - there is no amount of time behind bars that can make up for the loss of dignity, identity, respect in relationships, opportunity, safety and security, mental and physical well-being,” she said.

“But he didn’t just do this to my family. He did this to hundreds of women and hundreds of families.”

Jane Doe 15

The first thing Wolfe did when the young woman arrived at the San Diego hotel room for filming was deadbolt the door.

“When I refused to do several things he asked … he told me he would make sure I missed my flight home or cancel it altogether,” she told the court.

“His message was clear: If I want to go home, I do whatever he says. I was an object to Mr Wolfe, not a human.”

The court heard that the woman had complex PTSD and frequently suffered from panic attacks and flashbacks.

“When I have flashbacks like these, the world around me - the present - ceases to exist. The past becomes my reality with all my senses of sight, touch, taste, smell, and sound.

“It’s as real to me as this very podium is now, and it’s terrifying. Flashbacks like these have regularly disrupted my daily life, and I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy.”

She said Wolfe’s offending had impacted her life on every level.

Trolls sent nasty messages to her acquaintances, colleagues and even her mother, often including screenshots from her video.

“Every day since meeting Mr Wolfe, I have had to make a very conscious decision just to stay alive,” she said.

“Living is a daily debate with myself, not a certainty. The only reason I stay is my mom and my dogs … There are days I wish I had died in San Diego because dying would have been less painful.

“All I want to do is hide … I dream of fading into oblivion. I’m trying so very hard to get better, but it’s tough.”

Jane Doe 16

“It’s been 10 years and three months since I met Matthew Wolfe. I had just graduated high school,” said the next woman.

“I had two jobs, and I was still struggling to figure out how to pay for my first semester of college that fall (autumn) … I had no other family support at the time.”

While looking for extra work online she came across an ad placed by Wolfe seeking models.

“I was unaware that this ad would lead me to the most evil people I have ever met,” she said.

He flew her to San Diego just after she turned 19.

“Less than 24 hours into my trip, I had already experienced some of the worst trauma I had ever been through,” she said.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t last long and that I’d be on my way home and I’d never have to think about this experience again. And I was wrong,” she said.

She said after filming finished Wolfe told her he wanted to have sex with her.

“Again, not feeling like I had much of a choice in the first place, I decided this would be the quickest way out of the situation entirely … I dissociated the entire time,” she recalled.

Several months later her video went online.

“Millions of views racked up in days, and this experience was being marketed as fun and consensual for everyone in the world to view. My assault was consumed and still continues to be watched on multiple websites, still to this day over 10 years later,” she said.

After the video was published, all of her personal information was posted online - her name, address, height, favourite colour.

She moved overseas to try to rebuild her life but could not escape what Wolfe had done to her.

“Aside from the initial trauma of being sexually harmed and used, I’ve experienced years of harassment in many forms … One of the most recent . . . somebody had sent an email with a link to my video and a message that said ‘did you know your employee is married to a porn star’ to my husband’s general work email that is shared by his team and leadership.

“I can tell you countless stories of how I’ve been stalked, how many times I’ve lost jobs, friends, relationships, and even family over this video, how many nights I’ve stayed awake, afraid of the constant nightmares of being found and harmed all over again.

“And I’d love to be able to say that this trauma and fear is long gone, but having this drag out [in court] is bringing up a lot of my old wounds.”

The women say trolls sent links to their videos and screenshots of the footage to colleagues, family and even bosses.

Jane Doe 17

“Ten years ago, the monster living under my childhood bed became a reality when I met Matthew Wolfe,” the woman explained.

When her video was published she was “shattered”.

“There were very few people that did not completely cut me out of their lives, and the few that remained I cut them out of mine because I was too humiliated and exposed,” she explained.

“I hid in a dark room for years, clinging to life.”

Rebuilding her life and healing in the face of “ceaseless stalking, doxxing, threats, and blackmail” had been “challenging”.

“I’m afraid to have a partner. I’m afraid to have kids. I’m afraid of career advancement. I’m afraid to make new friends. I’m afraid of happiness.”

Further, the guilt she felt for not recognising Wolfe as a “monster” was “paralysing.

“It’s been nearly 3650 days of living in a tortuous purgatory,” she said.

Despite her ordeal, facing Wolfe in court marked “a shift in the winds” for her.

“Today is the day all the survivors get their voices back. Today is the day we get to be heard... Did you really think you could get away with this?” she asked the offender.

“You are bottom-of-the-barrel scum. You’re a leech that found enjoyment feeding on young, innocent, malleable women.

“May the faces of all the brave, powerful, and fearless women here today haunt you. May you feel a depth of violation as intensely as you have inflicted upon us. May you feel the weight of being exiled and the howls of loneliness intensify in the years to come, just the same you have caused for us.

“May we become the monsters under your prison bed - haunting you in your every waking and sleeping hour.

“You deserve all the pain and suffering that awaits you. We were your prisoners; now you will be ours.”

Jane Doe 23

She remembers vividly “being forced to perform sexual acts for over 10 hours” - despite her pleas to stop, despite her being injured.

Alongside the physical pain, Wolfe’s offending caused her “devastating” and “severe” emotional trauma.

“I live in fear, both in my real life and in the online world. I’ve overcome stalkers, physical abuse, and I’ve had to continuously move homes, jobs, and change my phone number in the last seven years,” she said.

“Internally, I also suffer. I grieve. I live with the memories of these horrific moments and then the onslaught of harassment, judgment, and the unrooting of everything and everyone I’ve ever known.

“My daughter is the only reason I keep going and keep living.”

Wolfe had used her like “a pawn” and she felt like a prisoner to the “seemingly everlasting consequences of these videos”.

“And I imagine the journey to healing will continue on for many more years,” she said.

Jane Doe 24

The last woman to face Wolfe met him soon after she started university.

He flew her to San Diego for filming. She told no one where she was going and what she was doing.

“Wolfe hung this over my head throughout the process to get me to do things that I did not want to do,” she said.

“I had many thoughts of running out of the door as fast as I could... but even if I got past two grown men, where was I to go?”

When her video was released she could not fathom any life beyond it.

“So I attempted to take my life… and prayed that I just wouldn’t wake up,” she said.

“The doctors were able to resuscitate me, and I was placed in a psychiatric facility for two weeks.”

When she finally went back to school she had to contend with relentless harassment.

“There was even an instance during my senior year where a fellow student took a screen capture from my video and plastered it all over campus and posted it on the school’s public Snapchat account,” she said.

Since then she has lived in fear that she is being watched and she felt Wolfe had robbed of her privacy, dignity and peace of mind.

“The simplest things were stolen from me - the ability to walk down the street without looking over my shoulder. The freedom to post a picture of the beautiful family I built without fear a stranger might recognise me. The courage to trust people and not live in a constant state of fight or flight,” she said.

“But worst of all, I was robbed of my identity. I was once viewed as a beautiful, fun-loving, and strong woman who was known for her athleticism and ability to make just about anyone laugh. I was a caring friend and a daughter my parents were proud of.

“Mr Wolfe shattered who I was... but I am not a victim. I’m a survivor. And I’m not merely a survivor, I’m a fighter.”



Where to get help:

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