NEW RIVER, Ariz. - A Valley mother stands accused of committing a series a sickening sex crimes against her own children and selling videos of the acts on the internet.
Court documents obtained by 12 News show 28-year-old Keri Hardwood is facing a list of charges including molestation of a child, for allegedly recording herself molesting her 3-and 6-year-old children then selling the videos online.
“We expect that parents are going to care and protect their biological children, or any children, this is egregious,” Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone told KPNX.
Penzone said MCSO initiated their investigation after receiving a tip from one of Harwood's friends who’d reportedly discovered some of the videos.
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“He did a little bit of his own detective work,” Penzone said.
In court documents, investigators say Hardwood gave the tipster access to her email account so he could help her catch Pokémon in the popular cell phone app Pokémon Go.
It was in that email account, deputies say the friend allegedly found the videos along with PayPal transactions from the man who allegedly paid for them.
“I commend him. I really do and I'm thankful he came forward,” said Penzone about the tipster. Penzone is a retired sergeant for the Phoenix Police Department and investigated internet sex crimes against children.
According to court documents Harwood allegedly recorded videos of the molestations during the children's bath time at her New River home.
During her police interview investigators say Harwood admitted committing the acts and to sending the videos to a man she met online.
Harwood said the man requested the videos and paid for them, telling investigators she needed the money.
“Now complete strangers on the opposite side of the world will pay to see a product such as this which is so disgusting and offensive and a child is victimized,” said Penzone.
Penzone urges other community members to come forward with any information if they believe a child is being hurt or victimized.
He says while pedophiles may try and hide in the dark underbelly of the internet, law enforcement are always developing new ways to locate and prosecute them.
“There will be evidence and we'll acquire the evidence and we're going to hold you accountable and put you behind bars,” he said.
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