“I can honestly say that, in three-and-a-half years on the bench, this is by far the worst thing that has come before this court.” So said Judge Leslie Ghiz of Ohio’s Hamilton County Pleas Court as she sentenced April Corcoran to 51 years to life in prison Tuesday, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Her crime: Corcoran, 32, had pleaded guilty in June to raising money to feed her heroin addiction by loaning out her 11-year-old daughter to her drug dealer, who, with the mother’s blessing, raped, sodomized and abused her, sometimes videotaping it, according to the indictment against Corcoran.
The preteen was being forced to have vaginal, anal and oral sex with a 40-year-old man. The mother pleaded guilty to multiple counts of complicity to rape, human trafficking and child endangerment.
Because he preferred children younger than 11, prosecutors said, the mother dressed her up to look even younger, reported WLWT TV. “Little did we know, I guess, her drug dealer had a propensity to film little kids when they are performing sexual acts on him,” Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Katie Pridemore said at the time of the plea. “She didn’t have the means or the cash to buy her heroin anymore from her drug dealer,” said Pridemore. “….So she offered up her child in return.”
“You showed no kind of mercy,” the judge told her, according to the Enquirer. ” …. I don’t know that you grasp the damage that has been done to this poor child.”
The alleged dealer, Shandell Willingham, was also charged and is awaiting a hearing.
Corcoran had a special routine after her daughter was brutalized. As a “reward,” she gave her daughter heroin, the court was told. “Sometimes this defendant would give a little bit of heroin to her daughter,” Pridemore told the court. “The daughter didn’t want it but she said, ‘you’re a good girl. You did the right thing.'”
The middle-schooler vomited each time.
This happened four times between February and June 2014. Corcoran has not expressed any apologies to her daughter, the judge said in court Tuesday.
Now 13 years old, the girl is living out of state with her father and stepmother. She is taking medication, has had suicidal thoughts and is undergoing medical care, Ghiz said in court Tuesday. There’s doubt she will be able to cope.
“I saw my granddaughter. I heard her small voice,” the girl’s grandmother said in court. “It was horrific. How could she (Corcoran) do this? I don’t know if my granddaughter is going to be able to have a normal life.”
The authorities learned of the case in June 2014, when the girl moved in with her father, who reported it.
The girl’s plight didn’t shock locals in the rural area of Ohio where Corcoran lived, the paper reported at the time of her arrest. “I mean, things like this happen a lot down here,” resident Keith Benson said. “Probably not to this degree, but there’s constantly being reports of animal abuse and fights breaking out around. It’s a little bit surprising but not entirely unexpected.”
“As a parent, it is hard to imagine how you could use your child to satisfy your drug addiction,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said at the time of the indictment. “Even after all my years as a prosecutor, I continue to be amazed at how badly parents treat their children. What this little girl endured is unimaginable, and I can only hope that mom and drug dealer’s prosecution and intense counseling will help this child regain some trust in the world. This case is Exhibit A for how devastating heroin is to our communities.”
“They tell me before she became hooked on heroin,” James Bogen, Corcoran’s court-appointed attorney told the paper, “she was a very loving and attentive parent.”