A federal judge sentenced a Washington woman to 25 years in prison for transporting a toddler into Oregon where she and her boyfriend sexually abused the girl.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon handed down the sentence for 28-year-old Carolyn Knudsen in a Portland, Oregon, courtroom on Aug. 31.
“I'm sorry for what I did,” Knudsen told the judge, reports The Oregonian.
Knudsen was arrested in August 2014 following a Homeland Security investigation into Neil Hickerson, 57, and his 35-year-old son James Hickerson, both of Gresham, Oregon, who were suspected of downloading and sharing child pornography.
Neil pleaded guilty in May to possession of child pornography in the case, according to an earlier story from The Oregonian.
James pleaded guilty in July to transportation of a minor for unlawful sexual activity as well as production and distribution of child pornography, The Associated Press reported.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Shoemaker wrote in a recent sentencing memo that Knudsen was involved in a relationship with James and that the man would travel to Washington and bring the woman and the child back to Oregon.
Shoemaker said Knudsen sexually abused the girl on multiple occasions and also allowed James to sexually abuse the child.
Courts records, disclosed in May when Knudsen pleaded guilty to transportation of a minor for criminal sexual activity, indicated that video clips on the boyfriend’s cellphone appeared to show Knudsen and James performing sex acts on the girl.
In another instance, Knudsen abused the girl via Skype while her boyfriend watched, the records said.
In exchange for Knudsen’s plea, three additional counts of sex abuse and child pornography charges against her were dropped, The Oregonian reported.
“She did this for approximately 18 months, up to two years, while [the girl] was utterly helpless to stop the abuse,” Shoemaker wrote in the sentencing memo. "Ms. Knudsen also produced child pornography involving [the child] while she was in Washington, and shared it with Hickerson online. And she allowed Hickerson to videotape her performing oral sex on [the girl] when they were in Oregon.”
Knudsen told the judge on Aug. 31 she didn’t fully understand that her actions constituted the production of child pornography.
“I had a gut feeling, nothing more,” she said.
With credit for the year she has already spent in jail, and time off for good behavior, Knudsen could possibly be out of prison in 21 years.
Her attorney, Travis M. O'Neal, called the sentence “very fair” in a sentencing memo, noting that his client suffers from multiple sclerosis, and the sentence gives her a chance of release before she dies.
It is unclear if the child was related to Knudsen. The girl was last reported in May to be in the custody of Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.