BANGOR, Maine — A Mars Hill woman who molested her own 2-year-old daughter while videoconferencing with a stranger in England via a webcam was sentenced Monday in federal court to 20 years behind bars.
Julie M. Carr, 33, was sentenced for production of child pornography in U.S. District Court in Bangor. When she pleaded guilty in February 2010, she admitted that she sent — from a laptop computer at her Mountain View Street residence to a man in the United Kingdom — four live videos of herself performing sex acts on her youngest daughter.
“What you have done, Ms. Carr, is violate the most basic bond of society — the bond between a mother and her child, the bond between a mother and her daughter,” U.S. District Judge John Woodcock told her just before imposing the sentence.
“I feel it is incumbent upon me to protect … the people who can’t protect themselves,” he added.
The video chats that contained the sexual abuse occurred between June 9 and June 11, 2009, and were sent to a man in West Midlands, England, who recorded them. Nicholas J. Wilde, now 20, was being investigated in another child pornography case when law enforcement officers in his country found the video webcast recordings that were traced to Carr in Mars Hill.
Two days later, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Maine State Police troopers searched Carr’s home and interviewed her. She admitted to sending the explicit videos, saying Wilde “conned” her into doing it, according to court documents.
“She did it to shut him up,” Woodcock said while reviewing verbally the facts in the case. “This is a mystery. Here is a man in England, on the Internet. The Englishman is not to blame for her doing it; she is.”
Wilde, who was arrested June 11, 2009, by West Midlands Police, was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail for “inciting a mother in the U.S. to abuse her own child” and distributing indecent images, according to a report by the BBC in February 2010.
A memory stick seized at Wilde’s home contained footage of Carr abusing her young child at Wilde’s direction, and other child pornography with children as young as 18 months, the report states.
Wilde, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was ordered to sign the sex offenders register and was ordered to serve his sentence at a young offenders institution. He is banned from working with children for life, according to the BBC.
The one piece of good news in the child sexual abuse case is that Wilde did not disseminate Carr’s videos over the Internet, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell told Woodcock on Monday.
“She was a mouse click away from distributing those images all around the world,” he said.
Lowell thanked local and English law enforcement for their quick action to stop the international Internet crime. Carr’s four children, her three daughters and a son, were removed from her custody after her arrest. All needed counselling, he said.
“The children are doing well,” Lowell said. “In a real way her children have been rescued and saved.”
Carr’s three daughters were all under the age of 4 when she was arrested. She made the sexually abusive live-chat videos of her youngest daughter, who was 34 months old at the time and still in diapers, Woodcock noted.
Wilde and Carr met on an Internet-based dating site, court documents state, and he chose the youngest daughter because she was the cutest, Woodcock said.
Woodcock said that as a federal judge he has seen many child pornography cases, but none has risen to the depraved level of Carr’s.
“I’ll tell you, unequivocally, that yours is the worst case I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“I have always thought possession was bad enough, but production is another level of evil,” Woodcock added. “It never crossed my mind that [the person making the child porn] would be the child’s mother. The most natural response, after revulsion, is protecting the child.”
In addition to the 20 years in prison, Woodcock also sentenced Carr to 10 years of supervised release. He added a number of additional conditions for after her release from prison. They include monitoring of her computer and Internet use and a ban on alcohol and drug use. Carr also will be required to register as a sex offender.
Carr, who was dressed in dark blue jail garb, addressed the court before being sentenced.
“I am sorry,” she said. “I never meant to hurt anyone in my family. I regret it.”
Carr also was indicted by the Aroostook County grand jury on Sept. 11, 2009, on two charges of gross sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a minor in connection with the Internet child pornography investigation. Lowell told Woodcock that she would be sentenced in Aroostook County Superior Court on those charges in the next week or so and the sentence would be concurrent with her federal time in prison.
Carr has been held at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton since her arrest 21 months ago.