A South African couple was arrested in a Catawba County child pornography case.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, who is assisting in the investigation, says they were alerted of a man allegedly soliciting someone to engage in sex acts with a six-year-old. The SBI was lead to the suspect, who was in possession of child pornography in Catawba County.
SBI agents realized the suspect was receiving sexually-explicit images from someone in South Africa. Agents tracked the messaging and transfer of funds to a location in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
A 14-year-old girl was located and interviewed. She said a couple was sexually assaulting her and producing pictures and videos. The woman confessed to her and her husband's repeated involvement in producing child pornography and sexually assaulting the child.
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The 14-year-old and her two younger brothers were removed from the home and placed in protective custody.
The couple was charged with multiple charges related to the production of child pornography, sexual assault, rape and child abuse.
“Defendants such as these trafficking in child pornography and illicit sex acts against minors, strip victims of their humanity; treating them as little more than pieces of meat to generate cash,” said HSI North Carolina Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Healy. “The depravity of the subjects in this particular case reaches its lowest form, by forcing underage girls into this dark underworld of abuse and victimization; the public should breathe a sigh of relief that these dangerous criminals are now safely behind bars.”