A mom and her boyfriend have been sentenced to life in prison--an alleged swinger's club member who witnessed the sex acts goes on trial this week.
A building that once housed a daycare center and later became a "swingers' club" in Mineola, Texas, turned into a house of horrors for four children who were forced to perform sex acts on others and each other.
Shauntel Mayo, 29, the ringleader of this unthinkable abuse, made her three kids (then ages 5, 6, and 7) and her own 6-year-old baby sister perform sex acts if they wanted dinner. "The unthinkable," said Smith County assistant district attorney Joe Murphy. "She had her kids have sex with each other and taught them to masturbate. She taught them how to strip. She withheld food from them. All so she could make money."
One of the alleged members of the sex club, Patrick "Booger Red" Kelly, is on trial this week for charges of organized criminal activity and aggravated sexual assault of a child. Murphy's opening statements began with, "Ladies and gentleman of the jury, this case is about pure evil--and that's what you're going to hear from the witnesses in this case."
Pure evil might be an understatement. According to prosecutors, the kids were groomed for sex shows in what Mayo called "kindergarten" classes. At "kindergarten," they said they learned how to strip, dance and perform sexual acts--first on dolls, then on each other. Upon "graduating" from "kindergarten," they were forced to have sex with each other in front of 50 to 100 adult members of a swingers' club once a week. Before going on stage, they were given the painkiller Vicodin--which their abusers called "silly pills"--to loosen them up for their performances. The children were forced to have sex with each other or perform sexual acts for club members who paid a fee to watch. Investigators believe up to 15 other children were victimized, and are still trying to locate them.
According to the Associated Press, the police department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings' foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child said that "everybody does nasty stuff in there."
"We learned to strip (at 'kindergarten')," said the 7-year-old. "I had to touch my privates with my sister's and brother's privates for the people in the club."
The mother of the three siblings and her live-in boyfriend have already been convicted in the case and were sentenced to life in prison.
The siblings, who have been adopted and have gone through intense therapy, are now doing better, the welfare agency said. However, the man who gained permanent custody of the children, John Orville Cantrell, 64, of Mineola, was recently arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child on a California case from 18 years ago.
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