A Madison County man who had been accused of producing and distributing child pornography now has been charged with multiple counts of rape.
Madison County Common Pleas Judge Robert D. Nichols set bond at $1 million yesterday for 52-year-old Lowell Thompson
, of Mount Sterling.
A grand jury indicted him last week on three counts of rape, one count of gross sexual imposition involving a child under the age of 13 and four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance. He could face a life prison sentence if convicted because the two rape victims were under the age of 10.
Thompson had initially been charged in federal court with producing and distributing child pornography across state lines. He could not have faced a life sentence on those charges, however, so the federal counts were dropped earlier this month and Madison County took the case to pursue the more serious charges
, said Assistant Madison County Prosecutor Eamon Costello.
Relatives of Thompson's victims have said the man befriended the families of his victims, forced the children to pose nude for him, raped them at his Mount Sterling home and recorded the sex acts.
Mount Sterling police questioned Thompson about the allegations against him in March, and then let him go because he promised to cooperate and lead authorities to other porn purveyors. Instead, Thompson disappeared