Sarah Peters, then 24, took her 2-year-old daughter from Houston, 40 miles north to Conroe, Texas, in February with the agreement already in place, authorities say.
The man she met online would pay her a fee of $1,200, according to a news release from Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon. In exchange, that man would get to “engage in sex acts with the child,” the release states.
But, luckily for the little girl, that man happened to be Detective Jerry Serratt, who was working with an area-wide law enforcement task force that focused on internet crimes against children.
The task force’s investigation into Peters, now 25, began when officers were tipped off to an area mother who was “into incest,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
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During Serratt’s initial exchange with Peters, she texted him to ask if he knew “of any guys that would pay to have fun with [the victim],” according to court documents obtained by the Conroe Courier. She also sent nude photos of the 2-year-old to entice the man she thought she was negotiating with, the court documents allege.
Task force officers, and special agents with the Department of Homeland Security, arrested Peters at a local Greyhound bus station. Child Protective Services took custody of her daughter.
Peters was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on Feb. 22, according to jail records, and charged with sexual performance by a child, prostitution of a child and trafficking a child.
She pleaded guilty Thursday to the crimes, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison for trying to sell her daughter for sex.
“The events of this case are hard to believe — that a mother would willingly expose her own daughter to this type of danger,” prosecutor Tyler Dunman said in the release. “Our citizens must realize that this type of activity happens in our community.”
Peters will be eligible for parole in 2038.