Former Tuscaloosa City Council Candidate Solicited Sex from 16-Year-Old
A former Tuscaloosa City Council candidate involved with several area nonprofits allegedly solicited sex from a 16-year-old earlier this year, according to court documents obtained by the Tuscaloosa Thread.
The deposition detailing the accusations was filed after 36-year-old Matt Hood was charged in Elmore County, Alabama, with a single count of harassing communications, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
According to Elmore County investigators, Hood reached out to a high school student on Instagram in late January and initially asked them to volunteer in a program that helps children with intellectual and other disabilities get involved in athletics.
In their first conversations, the teenager was reportedly dishonest about their age, and Hood and the student began talking more frequently before those conversations became sexual in nature.
Hood allegedly offered to pay the student for nude pictures, and after learning that the student was still in high school, reportedly said he could help them get admitted to the University of Alabama
Hood also reportedly sent the student $50 through the Venmo mobile app and sent them a picture fully depicting one of his credit cards, including all details needed to use it.
Finally, on February 19th, Hood allegedly asked the student to meet him for sex. A teacher at the student's high school had become aware of the situation at that point and alerted the student's parents of their interactions with Hood.
After a few phone conversations, the 16-year-old's parents reportedly told Hood to stop all contact with their child and contacted the Elmore County Sheriff's Office about the situation.
After police discussed the case with the student and their parents, a magistrate issued a warrant for Hood's arrest and he was taken into custody in Tuscaloosa in early March.
He was formally charged with harassing communications and booked in the Elmore County Jail before being released later the same day on a $500 bond.
Hood, an administrator at the Hotel Capstone in Tuscaloosa, ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Tuscaloosa City Council in the last municipal election in 2021. A political newcomer, he lost his bid to replace longtime councilor Cynthia Almond in District 3 to now-incumbent Norman Crow.
For more than a decade, Hood has also served in volunteer and leadership capacities at several area nonprofits, most predominantly including Best Buddies, the Miracle League of Tuscaloosa, the Boy Scouts and Arts ’n Autism.
Hood has pleaded not guilty to the charge and a bench trial in Elmore County is scheduled to take place in May. According to available court records, he has never been charged with any other crime in Alabama.
Editor's note: It is the general policy of the Tuscaloosa Thread to not report on misdemeanor arrests. Consensual sex is legal in Alabama at the age of 16, and Hood has not been charged with any felonies or sex crimes in this case. Hood and the student reportedly never met in person. However, because of the age of the student, Hood's alleged initiation of their first conversation, his role in area community organizations and several other factors, we have made an exception to that policy and opted to publish this report.