LOS ANGELES – A former Redondo Beach resident pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge for targeting girls on the internet and enticing them to engage in masochistic abuse for his sexual gratification.
Matthew Christian Locher, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction.
According to his plea agreement, 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, 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.
United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee scheduled a January 17, 2023 sentencing hearing, at which time Locher will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.
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 is prosecuting this case.