Patricia Ayers is facing 1,590 years in prison and her husband, Matthew Ayers, is facing 750 years in prison. The couple was convicted of over 100 counts of producing child pornography.
“I have been on the bench since 1998, and this is the worst case I have personally dealt with, including murders,” U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler told the defendants. “You robbed this child of her childhood and her soul, and a maximum sentence is the only sentence appropriate.”
The couple, who lived in Florence, Alabama, pleaded guilty in June to charges related to producing pornographic images of a child in their custody. The pornography was produced and distributed between the summer of 2010 and January 2013.
Patricia pleaded guilty to 53 counts of producing child pornography and Matthew pleaded guilty to 25 counts.
Both Ayers acknowledged in their plea agreements that they they photographed the child engaged in lewd and lascivious poses, and that they both engaged in sexual acts with the child that the other person photographed.
Patricia also admitted that she sent the child pornography to a man in Texas and made arrangements for him to have sex with the child.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the amount of child exploitation has been dramatically increasing since the 1990’s. Since its launch in 1998, CyberTipline has received more than 2.5 million reports of sexually exploited children. Child pornography is a massive industry that largely exists online, bringing in $3 billion annually. Though the victim’s age is unknown, 83% of child pornography cases, the child was between the ages of 6 and 12.
The couple will likely be given even more jail time at their next trial on December 8. They face state charges which include producing child pornography, rape and sexual abuse.