On Tuesday, March 28, 2023 the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Central District of California issued the following press release.
LOS ANGELES – A former Redondo Beach resident was sentenced today to 324 months in federal prison for targeting girls on the internet and enticing them to engage in masochistic abuse for his sexual gratification.
Matthew Christian Locher, 32, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who at today’s hearing said, Locher was “a parent’s worst nightmare” and was an individual who committed “monstrous acts.” Judge Gee also ordered Locher to pay $25,209 in restitution to his victims and ordered him placed on lifetime supervised release once he is released from prison.
Locher pleaded guilty in August 2022 to one count of sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction.
From November 2020 to May 2021, Locher targeted girls suffering from mental health issues, including depression, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders. During internet conversations, Locher groomed his victims to engage in self-mutilation and instructed a victim struggling with an eating disorder to starve herself, ordering her to film herself cutting her body when she disobeyed him.
Locher enticed two of the minor victims to send Locher images and videos of themselves committing acts of self-harm, which included cutting their breasts with razor blades.
Locher enticed a third victim, who was 12 years old, to run away from her home in Ohio and travel to California to engage in illegal sexual activity with him. Specifically, Locher encouraged the victim to kill her parents and set her family’s house on fire, at which point he would pick her up, bring her to California, and make her his “slave.” This victim began a trip to California after setting a fire in her family’s home in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her parents.
Soon after federal authorities executed a search warrant at his residence, Locher relocated to Indiana in the summer of 2021. Following his arrest in Indianapolis in January 2022, federal authorities transported Locher to California. He has been in federal custody since then.
“[Locher’s] victims are real people – real girls who turned to the internet to seek help with their struggles with anorexia, schizophrenia, and depression, and tragically fell into [Locher’s] hands,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “[Locher] knew he was talking to kids, wanted to be talking to kids, and knew kids were, in fact, harming themselves at his urging.”
The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Springfield (Ohio) Police Department, the Shelby County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office, and the New York City Police Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Chelsea Norell of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.