Child Pornography Case: Couple Sent to prison for 2,340 years collectively.


In an aftermath of what can be termed as the most disturbing and horrific example of sexual exploitation of a young child, the cruel couple Patricia and Matthew Ayers have been given an extraordinary punishment of 2,340 years behind bars collectively. Man received 750 years while woman received 1,590 years in jail.

The couple pleaded guilty to the charge of exploiting a child in their care. The Federal Judge while giving out the sentences addressed the defendants and said that “I have been on the bench since 1998 and this is the worst case I have personally dealt with. … You robbed this child of her childhood and her soul, and a maximum sentence is the only sentence appropriate.”

The case came into limelight during December 2012 in Alabama after a friend of the couple informed local law enforcement authorities about the ongoing exploitation after seeing digital pornographic photographs of the female child given by Patricia Ayers.

Child Pornography Case Couple Sent to prison for 2,340 years collectively.

File photo of Patricia and Matthew Ayers

Immediately, the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office acquired a search warrant to survey the couple’s home in Florence and all their digital devices including cameras, cellphones, electronic storage media devices and computers were confiscated. Patricia Ayers was arrested after she admitted that she had taken the pictures of the child. However, she initially claimed that the pictures were just taken for documenting a rash and not for pornography’s sake.

An examination of the seized devices and digital media revealed thousands of pornographic pictures involving the young victim and Matthew Ayers. The images showed Mr. Ayers engaged in sexual acts with the child and therefore, he also was arrested by the authorities.

An official federal level inquiry into the case started in early January 2013 and the FBI’s assistance was requested by the Lauderdale authorities and Florence Resident Agency. For locating the items seen in the pornographic images another search warrant was issued for surveying the Ayer’s residence both current and previous one. It was assumed that the items will be found in their house and law enforcement agencies found the exact same match of the wallpaper in their home as was visible in some of the images

Patricia Ayers was connected to another child pornography case when a Dallas Field Office agent, working on one such case, got involved in this case. The subject of that other case received emails from Patricia Ayers containing child pornography images including the images of the same child who was the victim of this new case. The couple was accused on federal charges in May 2014.

FBI Computer Analysis and Response Team expert was also assisting the bureau agents on the Ayers case and all the digital evidence was reviewed and carefully scrutinized by him for clues about when and where the pictures were taken, who was being pictured and what was being shown.

At FBI Headquarters, Forensic child interviewers were also roped in for Victim Assistance. These are trained experts who can help young victims and witnesses to open-up and talk about their traumatizing experiences without getting more disturbed or frustrated. One such specialist, an FBI Birmingham’s local

Victim Assistance expert, assisted the child victim of this case right from the very first day until the sentencing date and onwards. He offered the much-required help, support and comfort along with uninterrupted counseling sessions and community resource referrals to the child. The victim is believed to be no more than 6 years old when the sexual exploitation started.

The young victim is now being guarded and cared by family members. However, this and various such cases point finger on the role of law enforcement agencies in ensuring lawful access and sharing of digital media. Appropriate legislation and measures to counter such activities are very much needed and the concerned authorities must pay attention to this issue.

Source: FBI.

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