A Houston mother, 25-year-old Sarah Marie Peters, was sentenced to 40 years of prison after pleading guilty to charges that included promotion of prostitution. Was her sentence enough though? Consider the specifics of the case: the mom offered to sell her 2-year-old daughter for sex at a cost of $1,200.
Peters was caught after undercover officers encountered the woman on social media when she had forwarded photos of young girls, asking if anyone wanted “to have fun” with her daughter.
Detectives followed Peters as she and her daughter boarded a bus in Houston, set to travel to meet a man (an undercover agent) who Peters thought was going to pay money to have sex with her 2-year-old. Authorities arrested her on February 22; her daughter is now in the custody of state Child Protective Services.
Her charges, according to the Montgomery County District Attorneys office, include one count each of sexual performance of a child, promotion of prostitution of a child and attempted human trafficking.
The district attorney’s office further notes that the agent who conducted the investigation reached an online agreement with Peters “for the purpose of allowing an adult male to engage in sex acts with the child for a fee of $1,200.”
Tyler Dunman, chief of the district attorney’s special crimes bureau, said in a statement: “The events of this case are hard to believe — that a mother would willingly expose her own daughter to this type of danger.” Dunman added that law enforcement’s “proactive” steps protected the girl from becoming “a victim to the worst type of abuse.”
He further noted: “Our citizens must realize this type of activity happens in our community” and asked residents to be “vigilant and report to law enforcement any activity they see/hear where a child might be in danger of abuse or sexual exportation.”
According to the district attorney’s office, Peters will be eligible for parole on the sexual performance of a child conviction in 2038.
Among the many people who weighed in with comments on social media were those who found this crime inconceivable, with one person saying: “This is sick!! Anyone willing to do this has absolutely no conscience and never will. The justice system should be for rehabilitation and you can’t rehabilitate this waste of space.”
Another commenter simply noted: “Why in God’s name would anyone, let alone a mother, do such a thing? What a disgusting excuse for a human being.”
Others hoped the best for the little girl, with one commenter noting: “It would be best that the small girl be adopted out to a loving family and never have contact or know about her mother again.”
Others applauded the investigative work done, with one commenter remarking: “Good job done by the law enforcement — can you imagine the damage done on the poor child if it was a real predator… how very sad and sickening.”
Everyone agreed that the sentence wasn’t nearly severe enough for the crime, with one person offering: “Prison sentence not long enough. I cannot fathom (under any circumstances) how a mother can be so evil. The words sound harsh but that’s how I feel.” Another agreed, writing: “She should be put to death! Now we have to feed, clothe, and house this sorry excuse for a woman! Although I can’t wait for her to get hers in jail!”