WARNING: This article contains graphic and disturbing content
RICHLAND, Wash. -- Two Richland men are accused of violently raping a young girl over several years, starting when she was still in middle school, according to court documents obtained by KAPP-KVEW.
Police said Matthew Lowe, 44, was a married father when he met the 13-year-old victim in the summer of 2013. She was a friend of his daughter.
The alleged victim said she had difficult home life when they met, so Lowe gave her his phone number, saying she could call if she wanted to talk. Over the next few weeks, they began to text and Lowe eventually took the girl out to ice cream after she got into a fight with a relative, court documents say.
The girl said the first time Lowe raped her was in October 2013, about two months after they first met. She said Lowe picked her up from school and took her to his house while his wife and kids were out.
Soon after, the girl said Lowe introduced her to a "dominant and submissive type relationship" that continued for about five years, until she disclosed the abuse to police in the fall of 2018, court documents say.
The girl said Lowe would engage in sadomasochistic behavior, using ropes to tie her up, spanking her and hitting her with a flogger or switch. She said the abuse would leave bruises on her body.
She said Lowe would record the abuse, and that he allegedly sent one such video to 44-year-old Russell Meyer.
Meyer responded to the video by saying that "he wanted to do that to her too," court documents say.
The girl said Lowe and Meyer raped her both separately and at the same time.
In October 2018, the victim reported the ongoing abuse to the Richland Police Department, triggering a year-long investigation into the alleged crimes.
Over the course of the investigation, police seized more than 50 electronic devices from Lowe's home and found evidence of physical and sexual abuse along with explicit images of the victim sent to Meyer.
The victim said Lowe was a security consultant for a cybersecurity company, and he had bragged about his tech skills, stating that police would "never be able to locate images or videos on his devices," court documents say.
Police found enough evidence to obtain arrest warrants for Lowe and Meyer from the Benton County Prosecutor's Office.
In court Thursday, Lowe pleaded not guilty to all seven of his charges:
- Second-degree rape of a child x 2
- Third-degree rape of a child x 2
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Possession of child pornography
- Dealing child pornography.
Lowe's bail is set at $250,000 and his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 12. His defense plans to argue about the bail amount at his next court appearance.
Meyer pleaded not guilty to all four of his charges on Thursday:
- Second-degree rape of a child x 2
- Possession of child pornography x 2
Meyer's bail is $250,000 and his trial is also scheduled for Nov. 12.
Upon their release, both men are to have no contact with minors. A protection order was issued to protect the alleged victim.
At the time of his arrest, Meyer was a registered level 2 sex offender. He was convicted of second-degree extortion with sexual motivation in 2016.
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article mistakenly stated that the defendants pleaded guilty.
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