A Wisconsin man who authorities said posted an advertisement on Craigslist to sell his then-4-year-old daughter for sex has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Turley described his daughter as “younger than 10” as he arranged for a meeting with a potential client in more than 70 email exchanges, according to the Harris County district attorney’s office.
He told the client in several emails that he would give the child some sleep medication ahead of the encounter and that he charges $1,000 for two hours. The district attorney’s office said Turley implied that his daughter “might be too young for intercourse but everything else was OK.”
Unbeknown to Turley, the client was an undercover police officer.
Turley was arrested in November 2015, after the undercover officer showed up at a Houston apartment where the child was living with her mother. Turley was in Houston to visit with his daughter, prosecutors said.
The girl was in a bedroom, unresponsive and lying naked under blanket, ABC affiliate KTRK reported.
The child’s mother, who was not charged, did not know what Turley was doing, KTRK reported.
“This case broke my heart,” said Stewanna Miskell, one of the assistant district attorneys who prosecuted the case. “A father is supposed to be a protector not a predator. Jurors saw the need to keep him out of our community.”
Turley was sentenced to 30 years on each of the two charges. He will not be eligible for parole until he’s 75.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it responded to more than 10,000 reports of possible child sex trafficking in 2017. It’s unclear how many of the reports resulted in criminal charges and convictions. Staca Shehan, the organization’s executive director, said there are no reliable statistics for how many children are trafficked for sex every year in the United States.
In October, an infant and her 5-year-old sister were among the dozens of “sexually exploited juveniles” rescued after a nationwide sting that resulted in the arrests of 120 accused sex traffickers, the FBI announced. The agency said the infant and her sister were for sale for $600.
Eli Rosenberg contributed to this story.