METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - A Methuen police officer is on administrative leave as he faces a charge of possessing child pornography, after state police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to officials.

Matthew Bistany, 51, was arrested at his home in Methuen Tuesday morning as part of an investigation launched by the Massachusetts State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, according to MSP spokesperson Dave Procopio.

Bistany is charged after allegedly possessing two child pornography images tied to his Yahoo email account, showing girls believed to be between 12- and 15-years-old, according to state police investigators.

“Upon learning of these allegations, Officer Matthew Bistany was immediately placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and any internal investigation that is to follow,” Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara said in a statement. “These allegations in no way reflect upon the character and reputation of the men and women of the Methuen Police Department who stand committed to protecting children and continue to serve with distinction.”

Procopio said the investigation started earlier in 2023, after the task force received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children documenting how child sexual assault material had been uploaded from an IP address the MSP’s Cyber Crimes Unit later connected to Bistany.

Methuen Mayor Neil Perry said the city is investigating, and the community is in good hands with the Methuen Police Department.

“It’s important for the people to remember the Methuen police stands for the protection of our children and our citizens,” Perry said. “The predominance of our police officers are out there putting their lives on the line everyday, 24/7, and doing good for the community, and we’ll continue to do so.” 

Bistany was released on bail and left the courtroom silently.

“We look forward to addressing this and if guilty, the individual should face the proper charges,” Perry said.

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