LOS ANGELES (TCD) -- A 31-year-old man is facing federal charges because prosecutors allege he enticed young girls he met on the internet and encouraged them to engage in masochistic practices.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, prosecutors say Matthew Locher "targeted girls on the internet and enticed them to engage in masochistic abuse for his sexual gratification." He faces an eight-count indictment, which includes sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction, enticement and attempted enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and receipt of child pornography.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges Locher convinced two young victims to send him photos of themselves "committing acts of self-harm," which reportedly involved photos of them cutting their breasts. Locher also allegedly used racial slurs "to devalue the victim and entice her to self-mutilate."
A third victim, who was 12 at the time, reportedly ran away from her home in Ohio and came to California "to engage in illegal sexual activity with Locher." According to the statement, the victim traveled to California after igniting a fire in her family home, which prosecutors say was "an unsuccessful attempt to kill her parents in a plot Locher encouraged."
Locher allegedly told the victims to self-harm and that they would become his "slave" or "pet." The then-Redondo Beach local allegedly targeted his victims by looking for girls with mental health issues, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or anorexia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.
Locher was arrested Jan. 10 in Indianapolis. He reportedly moved there over the summer after federal officials searched his home.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Locher could face up to life in prison if he is convicted. He is being held without bond and his trial is scheduled to begin April 19.