A Texas mom who offered to sell her 2-year-old daughter for sex with an adult man for $1,200 has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, PEOPLE confirms.
Sarah Marie Peters, 25, of Houston, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Thursday to one count each of sexual performance of a child, promotion of prostitution of a child and attempted human trafficking, the Montgomery County District Attorneys office states in a news release.
Peters has been jailed since February, after she was arrested at a Greyhound bus station in Conroe, Texas, after showing up there on an agreed-upon date to turn over the child to a man she met online but who was actually an undercover agent.
The agent had been conducting an investigation into child exploitation. Through his undercover persona, he reached an online agreement with a person later identified as Peters “for the purpose of allowing an adult male to engage in sex acts with the child for a fee of $1,200,” according to the district attorney’s office.
After the date was set, Peters and her child were intercepted at the bus station by investigators with the district attorney’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force along with special agents of the Department of Homeland Security.
The child was taken from Peters and placed in protective state custody, says the district attorney’s office.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
“The events of this case are hard to believe — that a mother would willingly expose her own daughter to this type of danger,” Tyler Dunman, chief of the district attorney’s special crimes bureau, said in a statement. Without law enforcement’s “proactive” steps, “this child would have become a victim to the worst type of abuse,” he said.
“Our citizens must realize this type of activity happens in our community,” he added, before calling on residents to be “vigilant and report to law enforcement any activity they see/hear where a child might be in danger of abuse or sexual exportation.”
Peters was sentenced to 40 years on the sexual performance charge and 20 years on each of the other two charges, with the sentences to run concurrently.
According to the district attorney’s office, she will be eligible for parole on the sexual performance of a child conviction in 2038.