DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) As KMAN announced earlier this weekend, authorities say a staffer for Congressman Tim Huelskamp with Manhattan connections has been arrested and charged with 17 counts of sexual exploitation of a child.A Ford County jail official told The Associated Press on Saturday that Matthew P. Pennell is being held on $75,000 bond. The jail officials said he couldn’t release the name of Pennell’s attorney or make Pennell available for an interview. No information is available in online court records.
Pennell is a Manhattan High School alum and ran for the USD 378 school board in 2011. He also claims to have been one of the organizers of the first Tea Party in Manhattan in a newsletter from that time.
KWCH-TV reports that Pennell was arrested Thursday after an investigation by Dodge City police and the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.Huelskamp chief of staff Mark Kelly said in a written statement that the office has placed Pennell on unpaid leave. The statement said there would be no further comment, noting that the investigation is ongoing.