A former Redondo Beach resident was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for targeting young girls on the internet and convincing them to engage in masochistic abuse. 

According to the Department of Justice, 32-year-old Matthew Christian Locher singled out girls suffering from mental health issues including depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders to send him videos of themselves committing acts of self-harm, which included cutting their breasts with razor blades, for his sexual gratification. He began targeting girls in November 2020 and continued doing so until May 2021. 

“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,” the DOJ said in a statement. 

In one incident, Locher enticed a 12-year-old victim to kill her parents and set her family’s house on fire. He then said that he would pick her up from her house in Ohio, bring her to California, and make her his “slave.” The victim began a trip to California after setting her family’s house on fire in an unsuccessful attempt to kill her parents. 

Locher relocated to Indiana in the summer of 2021 shortly after federal authorities executed a search warrant at his residence. He was arrested in Indianapolis in January of 2022 and has remained in federal custody since then. 

“[Locher’s] victims are…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 said 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.” 

Locher pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation and attempted sexual exploitation of a child for the purpose of producing a sexually explicit visual depiction in August 2022. 

United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered Locher to pay $25,209 in restitution to his victims and ordered him to be placed on lifetime supervised release once he gets out of prison.