1:10 A.M. — A thousand pornographic images — some of which Lee County sheriff’s deputies say depict an Alva woman and her two children engaged in sexual acts — have landed the 31-year-old mother in jail on charges of incest, molestation and sexual assault.
The woman, who is not being named to protect the identity of her children, remained in the Lee County Jail on Wednesday night.
Her alleged involvement with child pornography was first investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to a sheriff’s report. Officials with those organizations showed deputies images they believe showed the woman’s involvement in producing pornographic pictures of her children.
One photo captured the woman performing oral sex on her 14-year-old son; another showed her son and 9-year-old daughter naked, sitting on a bed, the report said.
ICE and Homeland Security procured a warrant to search the home where the woman lived with her boyfriend, her two children and her boyfriend’s daughter. Neighbor Carol Davis said authorities searched her home as well, since the woman had been using her wireless Internet connection to transmit pictures.
“We didn’t have a block on it,” Davis said. “We have one now.”
Deputies asked the woman suspected of producing the child pornography to come to the sheriff’s office to answer questions. From there, they placed her into custody.
The woman had been e-mailing pictures to an ex-boyfriend, according to Chelsea Tindall, the daughter of the woman’s current boyfriend. It’s unknown why the woman was producing the images.
The sheriff’s report said the pictures were taken at an address in Lehigh Acres.
The Department of Children and Families said the children are now in their grandmother’s custody. The family was investigated twice before by DCF, most recently in 2008. This is the suspect’s first arrest in Lee County.
Tindall’s father met the woman in July, and soon after she moved into his duplex with her two children.
“The kids seemed happy,” said Tindall, 17. But recently, she said the 14-year-old boy had been having behavior problems and was suspended from school.
But her father’s new girlfriend seemed nice and a good mom, Tindall said.
Tindall’s father, 37-year-old Kevin Curtis, said he never suspected his girlfriend’s alleged sexual abuse of her children.
She cooked for them and always made sure their homework was finished, Curtis said.
“She was the perfect mom,” Curtis said.
He believes his girlfriend was brainwashed.
Curtis said the woman told investigators the abuse happened after she joined a website for single moms and began chatting with a person who claimed to be a psychologist.
That person told the woman to take the photos she’s accused of having, Curtis said.
“That’s not her,” Curtis said. “That’s totally, totally not her. It just really blows my mind.”
It is rare for mothers to be involved in pornography with their children, said Jill Turner, CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Florida, who added that a mother rarely crosses her boundary of a nurturer.
“There must be some kind of mental health issues for a mother to be able to do something like this,” Turner said.
People involved in child pornography come from all walks of life, said Michelle Collins, vice president of the exploited children division for the National Institute of Missing and Exploited Children.
There isn’t one common factor that unites them all, Collins said, which can be a challenge for law enforcement.
“Often, they’re not the stereotype or what the public thinks they are,” Collins said.
— Staff writer Evangelia Ganosellis contributed to this report.