Friday, July 1, 2011

Parents Selling Their Children – Sexual Exploitation of Minors

By Guest Blogger Christopher Burgess

There are days when you read a piece in the news and shake your head in disbelief. That was the case yesterday when I read of a couple (Anthony Wayne Hart, 47 and his wife Kathy Lee Hart, 43) indicted in Madison County, Virginia on charges of “human trafficking” of their daughters. The grand jury indictment read, “arranging for their 13 and 14-year-old daughters to provide companionship and affection to male individuals in exchange for money and goods …” The incidents took place between 10 October 2009 and 24 February 2011.

While the fact that any parent would do this to their minor children is and of itself disgusting, the true disappointment was in the realization that this was totally avoidable and the children could have been protected from their parents who had demonstrated their lack of ability to parent some nine years prior. You see, in 2002, that same couple had been arrested and indicted for attempting to sell a three-month old daughter for adoption. Anthony Wayne Hart entered into a plea agreement and was sentenced to two-years in prison. The charges against Kathy Lee Hart were dismissed, she had been found incompetent to stand trial.

This begs the question. How is it possible that these two individuals still had custody of their children, some nine years following their arrest and conviction for attempting to sell one of their children?

The charges facing the Hart’s carry up to 20 years in prison. The children are in foster care and will not be returned to their parents.

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