U.S. District Judge Joe McDade, as he does with every defendant, tried to get inside the heads of Raymond E. Freeman, 51, and Tammy Watters, 43, to find some reason for a lesser sentence. In this case, he wanted to know why they would not only have sex with the child, who suffers from Asperger's Disorder, a form of autism, but then film it.
"This is one of the worst cases of child abuse I have seen . . .," McDade said. "And then you make a recording of it. Why? Why did you do that?"
Watters tried to answer but came up with nothing beyond tears. Freeman, about an hour later, didn't have an answer, either.
The prosecutor noted that each had incidents in their past which could have sent things down a different path. For Freeman, it was a 32-year-old woman he molested until she was in fifth grade. After each incident, the woman said Freeman would promise not to hurt her again, but those promises were often broken, the woman said on the stand.
Later, she confronted Freeman about the abuse, prompting him to admit that he was molested as a child as well.
Watters had two daughters taken from her because she was caught having sex in front of them. Prosecutor Schoenbein said something inside of Watters was "broke."
Why didn't Freeman get help when he knew he was out of control, the judge asked.
"I tried to drink my problems away," Freeman said weakly, "Maybe if I had gone to counseling, I wouldn't be here. Drinking didn't help."
The videos feature Watters engaging in some form of sexual activity with the child. One of the videos has both adults in it as well. Both took turns filming. During one, Freeman is heard telling Watters and the boy to look at the camera.
Police learned of the couple after a person who was at their house noticed "hundreds" of compact discs and DVDs sitting on a table and went to police.