Parents Accused of Selling Girls Into Porn Face January Trial

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    (CNN) — A trial date was set Wednesday for a Tennessee couple accused of forcing their daughters — 12, 15 and 17 years at the time — to have sex with adult men for money. Authorities say the encounters were filmed.

    Ronnie Lee McCall, 61, and his wife, Connie Gentry Stout McCall, 40, were ordered to stand trial January 16, and they are scheduled to be back in court December 20 for a pretrial conference. Both are being held in jail.

    The couple was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 8 and arrested on one count each of selling a child by parents, coercion and enticement of a minor, production of child pornography and production of child pornography by parents. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison on two of the charges and a maximum of 30 years in prison on the other two.

    Helen Smith, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, told HLN that all of the girls were minors at the time of the alleged offense but declined to comment further.

    HLN contacted Ronnie McCall’s defense attorneys, Benjamin Sharp and Tim Moore, who declined to comment on the case. Connie McCall’s attorney, Joshua Hedrick, did not return HLN’s calls seeking comment.

    According to arrest records, the couple also had a then-6-year-old daughter who was not involved in the alleged child pornography but who was found to be severely neglected by her parents.

    The child pornography investigation began July 18, 2012, when Child Protective Services workers went to the family’s Johnson City home in response to a call for a welfare check. According to Washington County District Attorney General Tony Clark, police officers were summoned to the scene after CPS workers found signs of serious environmental neglect in the home, including “animal feces, rotting food, roaches and toilets overrunning onto the floor.”

    Johnson City Police Investigator Debbie Dunn, one of the responding officers to the McCalls’ home, described the living conditions as “filthy and deplorable.”

    She said that the neglect of the youngest child was obvious, particularly in regards to her “lack of dental care.” The McCalls’ arrest reports also cited “numerous neglect issues” regarding the little girl, including “ring worm, flea bites and severe head and body lice infestation.” It also stated that the little girl’s teeth “were found to be completely black with decay.” All four girls were taken into state custody at that time, Dunn said.

    The couple pleaded guilty to child neglect charges in August 2012 and was sentenced to probation and time served.

    Clark, who prosecuted the neglect case, said when the McCalls’ three oldest daughters were questioned after they were removed from the home, authorities learned that their parents had allegedly transported them to multiple locations and allegedly forced them to perform sex acts with adults, which were filmed, for money.

    He said the girls also revealed to authorities that their parents often smoked the synthetic drug referred to as “bath salts.”

    Clark said a Washington County man who allegedly paid to have sex with the girls and filmed their encounters committed suicide sometime after the investigation began. According to Clark, another man in South Carolina also allegedly paid the parents to have sex with one of the McCalls’ daughters.

    Clark called this one of the worst cases he’s seen in 20 years. “I’ve had death penalty cases, multiple murders, kids who’ve been killed by their parents — but to use your children to have pornographic sex with an adult? It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen as a district attorney. Unfortunately, more of this goes on than you realize,” he told HLN.

    According to Clark, the girls are in foster care together and “doing well — medically and physically.” He said one family is hoping to adopt all the girls and keep them together.

    “I hope they [the girls] can go on and have healthy and productive lives later on,” Clark said.

    (Photo:)

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