RICHMOND — Two Madison County parents were indicted Wednesday on human trafficking charges and could spend up to 20 years in prison for allegedly selling the sexual favors of their teenage daughters.
Kathy and Anthony Wayne Hart were indicted for “... arranging for their 13- and 14-year-old daughters to provide companionship and affection to male individuals in exchange for money and goods ...,” the indictment reads.
The incidents reportedly took place between Oct. 10, 2009, and Feb. 24, 2011.
Human trafficking is a Class B felony, punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Madison County authorities began investigating the Harts on Dec. 11 when a Foley Middle School teacher called Richmond Police to report two students from her school dressed “inappropriately” as they stood in front of the cinema at Richmond Centre.
The teacher also told police she heard a man ask the girls’ father “how much he wanted for both of them.”
The girls were dressed in “lacy, hot-pink negligee-like tops, tight jeans and boots,” according to Richmond Police Officer Nicholas Duvall who came to investigate, Boyle said. The temperature was in the 30s.
Duvall interviewed both girls, who told him their mother “made them go out with guys for money, food and clothing.” Their mother would yell at them if they did not hold hands and let themselves be touched and kissed, Boyle said, relaying Duvall’s report. The girls were never hit by their parents, however, she said they told the Richmond officer.
Berea Police were called when the teacher reported that the girls failed to show up for school the following Monday. Boyle said she was unable to locate the family until the girls were enrolled at a middle school in a nearby county after the first of the year.
Boyle and an investigator from the state Department of Children and Family Services then went to the school and interviewed the girls. Both said their mother would approach men at Walmart or Kroger and asked if they wanted to spend time with her girls.
The mother would encourage them to let the men touch and kiss them because they would receive money and clothing in exchange, Boyle said the girls told her.
The men also would take photos of them “with their clothes partially off,” Boyle testified.
After hearing that, Boyle said she obtained consent from the parents to enter the motel where the family had been staying and obtained their digital camera and reviewed its contents.
The older girl, age 14, said one of the men who came to their home sexually assaulted her as her mother watched, Boyle said. The younger girl then attempted to come to her sister’s aid.
Both girls are living in foster care and are in counseling, Boyle said.
The two remained in the Madison County Detention Center Thursday without bond.
Anthony Hart already has served two years in a Boyle County prison four years ago for attempting to sell a child for adoption.
Anthony and Kathy Hart have had brushes with the law in up to five Kentucky counties going back at least 10 years, according to documents attached to their arrest citations.
In late 2002, both were indicted by a Boyle County grand jury on the child-selling charge, but the case against Kathy Hart was dismissed in 2004.
Another man indicted for having contact with girls
The grand jury also found evidence to indict Alexander Gomez-Lopez, 23, for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, and attempted second-degree rape, Class A misdemeanor.
A picture of Gomez-Lopez was found on the Hart’s confiscated digital camera.
He was arrested by Berea police after the 13- and 14-year-old girls identified him as one of several men their parents allowed to have sexual contact with them.
One photo shows Gomez-Lopez with the two girls, which they said was taken by their mother, Boyle testified.
His cell phone was seized when he was arrested, the detective said, and it is being analyzed by the Kentucky State Police laboratory.
Gomez-Lopez also attempted to rape one of them while their mother was close enough to hear, both girls claimed when they were interviewed separately by Boyle and an employee of the state Department of Children and Families, the detective said.
He also is wanted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and is being held at the Madison County Detention Center without bond. If convicted, Gomez-Lopez could serve up to five years in prison.
An indictment is a formal statement of charges and does not imply guilt.
Register Senior News Writer Bill Robinson contributed to this story.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@
richmondregister.com or 624-6608.