A mother who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her toddler, making child pornography using her son and distributing it, has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Last year, a then four-year-old toddler was rescued from sexual abuse following an ALERT Internet Child Exploitation investigation done in conjunction with Red Deer RCMP and the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.
The toddler was sexually abused by his biological mother, a then 43-year-old Red Deer woman who is not being named in order to protect the identity of the victim. Photos of the abuse were sent over email to a man convicted of child pornography in Idaho.
The suspect was arrested on June 1st, 2016 at a licensed daycare facility in Red Deer, where she was employed. ALERT does not believe any offences involved children from the daycare. The daycare is not being named, however parents of the daycare were notified.
ALERT’s investigation began in late May 2016 with a referral from the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Unit (ICAC). ICAC identified a child being sexually abused based on evidence seized from a separate investigation. It was determined the child lived in the Red Deer area and ALERT was then able to expedite the investigation and identify the offender.
Crown Prosecutor Carolyn Ayre, initially asked Judge James Glass to consider a five year prison sentence for the woman in Red Deer’s Provincial Court on Thursday.
“This was a major sexual assault. She photographed it and distributed it,” she said, adding the photos were sent to a man in Idaho who is now serving 18 years in prison for child pornography. “Her young son was vindicated over and over and over because of what she did.”
Ayre added not only did the woman make child pornography using her son, but she also searched for other child pornography and distributed it.
“Some of that child pornography was computer-generated, so it was not real children, but it fuels the child pornography industry,” she said, adding one aggravating factor was that the woman was in a position of trust and the victim was under 18.
“She has a high moral culpability – this was planned and deliberate. She was searching, accessing, downloading and distributing child pornography. She is the only person responsible for the sexual assaults on her son, depicting them in photographs and then sending them.”
Ayre added there is nothing indicating the woman was not in her right mind when she committed the sexual assaults.
“Once she found out that her lover and soon to be husband was arrested for child pornography offenses (in Idaho), what was her response? To delete everything,” she said.
Defense Lawyer Kevin Sproule said the woman was being groomed by the man in Idaho and she was in a vulnerable place in her life when the offences happened.
“She is not a sexual predator,” he said, adding a report from a psychologist indicated the woman is low risk to re-offend. “She has displayed distress, shame and embarrassment. She has had confrontation from strangers on the street and online.”
The woman also addressed the court before she was sentenced.
“I am so, so sorry. I have a lot of remorse, shame and guilt. I hurt my son and I am scared about the lasting effects of my actions. My son deserves a lot better.”
The woman, who did not have a previous criminal record, is able to have contact with her son while she is incarcerated while in the company of the child’s guardian.
She will also be a registered sex offender for the remainder of her life.
In addition, new charges have come forward to the court in relation to the woman allegedly contacting two children when she was not authorized to. The woman pleaded not guilty to those charges today. A trial is yet to be set.