A Polk County couple known for their human rights activism and Falls City-based farm were arrested in December and are now facing charges of sexual abuse, child abuse and assault.
Matthew McDaniel, 59, is accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl over the course of several years.
According to a probable cause statement, McDaniel molested the girl several times from 2014 to 2017. The girl told police he would tie her up and hit her if she refused to touch him sexually.
His wife, Michu Uaiyue, 39, is accused of physically abusing and assaulting the same girl during the same time period. The girl disclosed that she'd been repeatedly beaten and tortured by Uaiyue.
In one instance, Uaiyue allegedly melted a plastic bottle and dripped the hot, liquid plastic onto the girl's bare hands and legs. The girl also told police that Uaiyue would cut her with glass and heated metal, hit her with a stick and tie her up in the garage several days at a time to punish her.
A doctor evaluated the girl's injuries and stated they were consistent with the descriptions of the abuse, according to police reports.
McDaniel, a former Willamette University student and president of the Akha Heritage Foundation, has been making headlines since the early 2000s when he began campaigning against the Thai government's treatment of the Akha hill tribe.
While living in Thailand, McDaniel met Uaiyue, an Akha woman, and started a family. The Thai government imprisoned and deported McDaniel in 2004.
The family relocated to Keizer and continued their activism. In 2009, the couple and their five children spent nine months on a "Ride for Freedom" to the United Nations headquarters in New York City to raise awareness of the injustices against the Akha people.
Uaiyue and McDaniel also founded Akha Farm near Falls City in 2011. The farm quickly grew into a fixture at local farmers markets.
McDaniel's December arrest wasn't the first time authorities investigated abuse claims against him.
In 2016, the same girl reported that McDaniel threw her against a car and injured her back. Polk County deputies arrested McDaniel, but the district attorney's office dismissed the assault charges against him after the girl wrote a letter recanting her statements.
One year later, she told investigators Uaiyue forced her to write the recantation statement by threatening to cut her hair one inch at a time. According to police reports, she said her hair was cut to her ears by the time she finished writing the letter.
On Dec. 7, McDaniel was arrested on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. Additional charges were added later relating to the 2016 incident when McDaniel allegedly threw the victim against a car, including fourth-degree assault, first-degree criminal mistreatment, menacing and unlawful use of a firearm.
Uaiyue was arrested the same day on charges of fourth-degree assault, three counts of second-degree assault, three counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and tampering with a witness.
Both pleaded not guilty to all charges.
McDaniel was held on $122,500 bail and later released. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 19.
Uaiyue was granted conditional release on Dec. 12. Her next court hearing is set for March 19.
For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 503-399-6884 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth