A mother accused of trafficking her 11-year-old daughter to a drug dealer in exchange for heroin has been indicted on more than 20 felony counts, officials announced Monday. The 30-year-old Ohio woman faces life in prison if she’s convicted of all the charges, authorities said in a news release. The man accused of being her drug dealer, Shandell Willingham, has also been indicted.
Here’s what authorities believe happened, according to the Associated Press:
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said at a news conference Monday with state Attorney General Mike DeWine that she would take her daughter to Shandell Willingham, 41, in exchange for drugs, then leave her with him and come back later. Willingham has been indicted on 26 counts, including rape, gross sexual imposition and human trafficking. Prosecutors said Willingham videotaped some of his sex crimes against the girl.
Investigators think the woman also gave heroin to her daughter. The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of sexual assault and is not naming the woman to avoid inadvertently identifying her daughter.
In announcing the indictment, Deters, the county prosecutor, called the case “Exhibit A for how devastating heroin is to our communities” DeWine, the attorney general, said it was “sad beyond measure.”
“Even after all my years as a prosecutor, I continue to be amazed at how badly parents treat their children,” Deters said in the statement. “What this little girl endured is unimaginable and I can only hope that mom and drug dealer’s prosecution, the love and support of her family, and intense counseling will help this child regain some trust in the world.”
The woman’s attorney, James Bogen, told The Post on Monday that he’s still gathering information on the case. He added that he had been in touch with the woman’s family, who told him that “before she became a heroin addict, she was a very loving and attentive mother.”
The victim now lives with her father and stepmother, whom she told about the incidents last June, according to the release.
By Sarah Larimer - AP via The Washington Post/March 23, 2015
Photo: Fox news