GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – The second of two brothers convicted of what a judge called “despicable” sexual abuse, was sentenced Thursday to 27 years in federal prison for assaulting a 10-year-old girl and then bragging about it to his younger brother.
“Good night last night,” was the subject line in an October 2013 e-mail Timothy Matthew Masters sent to his brother, which included a pornographic image taken of the victim while the girl slept.
“To say this is despicable is an understatement,” federal judge Paul L. Maloney told Timothy Masters during a sentencing hearing Thursday. “The defendant has got some deep, deep recesses.”
The Kent County brothers traded child pornography and discussed sexual abuse of children with the same nonchalance other brothers might have when discussing a football game.
Eric Devin Masters, 28, is serving 50 years in federal prison for producing child pornography, including a video that shows him raping an 18-month-old girl in a Byron Township motel.
It was his older brother’s turn to appear in front of a U.S. District Court judge in Grand Rapids on Thursday.
Maloney told Timothy Masters his young victim “may never fully recover” from the trauma he caused.
In addition to prison, Maloney ordered Masters to serve 10 years on supervised release once he is released at the age of 59.
Timothy Masters is the eighth federal offender in west Michigan to be convicted based on work by the West Michigan Based Child Exploitation Task Force (WEBCHEX). The FBI-led cooperative was launched in 2013 to investigate crimes against children.
Detectives from the Michigan State Police, sheriff departments in Kent, Ottawa, Ionia and Allegan counties along with the Grand Rapids Police Department are assigned to the unit.
The case involving Eric Devin Masters is likely the most egregious. He sexually assaulted a girl during an eight-day period in 2012 at a motel located off U.S.-131 in Byron Township, detectives said.
Videos taken at the motel show Masters engaged in multiple sex acts with the girl, who at times was tied to a bed. In one of the videos, Masters is urinating on the child, court records show.
Investigations by WEBCHEX have led to criminal charges in 17 other cases in Michigan and neighboring states, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles called WEBCHEX “a force multiplier” for rescuing child victims and protecting others from becoming victims.
Timothy Masters was indicted in May for sexual exploitation of a child. The government accused him of taking close-up photos of the prepubescent girl after removing the girl’s clothing while she slept. The image was then shared with his brother.
His attorney sought a measure of leniency, arguing that Eric Masters “was the driving force” behind his brother’s involvement in child pornography.
“But for his brother’s contact he likely would not be standing before the court,” defense attorney Keith W. Turpel wrote on Timothy Masters’ behalf.
Masters has “deviant sexual urges” but is also a devoted father to an 8-year-old son. His character is “likely better than his current reputation,” Turpel wrote.
“Hate the sickness, not the man,” Turpel concluded, citing a passage from a letter written by the defendant’s mother.