Patricia Ayers was sentenced to 1,590 years in prison and her husband, Matthew Ayers, was sentenced to 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 during their sentencing in 2014, according to Fox 8. "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 2014 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 Patricia and Matthew acknowledged in their plea agreements that 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 it.
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.
The amount of child exploitation has been dramatically increasing since the 1990s, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 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 in the Ayers case, the victim’s age is unknown, in 83 percent of child pornography cases, the child was between the ages of 6 and 12.