A Sparta man police say sexually assaulted two brothers, including one who was given a pacifier to muffle his screams, was ordered Monday to stand trial on nine felony charges that could put him in prison for life.
Tyler Ryan Lowis called himself “daddy’’ and referred to his victim as “baby boy,’’ who at times was dressed in a diaper and given a pacifier during sexual assaults that played out over a two-year period, according to court records.
Lowis, 22, lived in a mobile home community with his wife where several of the assaults occurred, court records show. He considered himself a “mentor’’ to the victim, who is now 14, court records show. Lowis made the boy use a sippy cup, baby bottle and diapers during the assaults, court records show.
During a brief appearance Monday, Nov. 28, in 63rd District Court, Lowis waived a probable cause hearing on the felony charges, sending the case to trial in Kent County Circuit Court. He is being held in the Kent County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Lowis is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct during a felony, child sexually abusive commercial activity and using a computer to commit a crime.
Michigan State Police detectives met with the boy, his 12-year-old brother and their parents on Nov. 14. The older boy admitted to having sex with Lowis a “crap ton,’’ saying the assaults occurred when he visited the Lowis home on Schultz Street east of Alpine Avenue NW. Lowis said he sexually assaulted the 12-year-old in late summer, according to court records.
The investigation got underway in August when Michigan State Police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a person who was accumulating child pornography through Dropbox Inc., a computer file hosting service that offers secure online file sharing and storage.
Many of the images were of young boys, including toddlers and infants, engaged in sexual acts with adults, court records show. Police obtained a search warrant for Lowis’ home. When they arrived the morning of Nov. 14, Lowis was there with his wife.
Lowis admitted to possessing child pornography and sexually assaulting a boy whom he met when the boy was 10 years old. The sexual assaults began at the boy’s Sparta home in 2015, according to court records. Lowis admitted to sexually assaulting the boy multiple times at multiple locations. He recorded several of the sexual assaults on a personal tablet device which was on the nightstand of his bedroom, court records show.
A search of Lowis’ tablet showed three videos of the sexual assaults and “multiple images of (the victim) wearing only a diaper and having a pacifier in his mouth,’’ according to court records.
In one of the videos, the boy is seen lying naked in bed with a blue and orange pacifier in his mouth. As Lowis rapes the boy, he calls the child “baby boy’’ several times and refers to himself as “daddy,’’ court records show. In another video, the victim is shown only in a diaper with a pacifier in his mouth.
Lowis had the older boy put a pacifier in his mouth during sex because the boy “would scream because (he) said the sex hurt him,’’ according to a probable cause affidavit. “(Lowis) would also make him use a sippy cup, baby bottles and diapers during sex.’’
After charges were filed, Sparta Area Schools released a letter indicating Lowis was involved in a community theater group that uses the auditorium for rehearsals and performances. Sparta Community Theatre is not part of Sparta Public Schools and only uses the auditorium after school hours.
The letter states that Lowis is barred from setting foot on school property pending the outcome of the criminal case.