Judge refuses to lower bail for Richland man accused of grooming child for sex

UPDATE (8:45 p.m.) — Jail records show Matthew Lowe has bonded out of the Benton County Jail. Records say Lowe bonded out shortly before 8:30 Monday night.

Details surrounding his release are not known at this time.

KENNEWICK, Wash. — A Benton County Superior Court judge refused to lower the bail amount for Matthew Lowe, a 44-year-old Richland man suspected of grooming a child for sex about half a decade.

During his arraignment last week, Lowe’s defense attorney requested a hearing to negotiate a lower bail amount.

After prosecutors argued that Lowe would be a flight risk and a danger to the community, the judge decided to keep his bail at $250,000.

The defense tried to argue that Lowe’s bail should be lowered to $75,000, saying he had been aware of the investigation since October 2018 but never tried to flee.

If Lowe is able to bond out of jail, he must turn in his passport and have no contact with minors aside from his 17-year-old daughter, who turns 18 in November.

The married father is accused of developing a “dominant-submissive” relationship with the girl starting when she was 13. The girl said he engaged in violent sexual behavior that would leave her with bruises.

RELATED: Married father raped Richland teen for years, invited friend to join, court docs say

Authorities say Lowe and his friend, registered sex offender Russell Meyer, 44, both sexually abused the girl multiple times over the years. Lowe allegedly shared explicit images of the girl to Meyer and stored the images on electronic devices.

The alleged abuse continued from 2013 until the fall of 2018, when the girl reported Lowe to police.

Lowe pleaded not guilty on Thursday, Sept. 26 to charges of second-degree rape of a child, third-degree rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a minor and possessing and dealing child pornography.