A mother of four young children in Maine was charged Monday with gross sexual assault after British investigators more than 3,000 miles away used the Internet to allegedly catch her in the act of Webcasting a sexual assault of her young child.
Julie M. Carr, 30, of Mars Hill, Maine, was arrested at about 11 p.m. Friday. Her four children — believed to range from 18 months to 5 years old — were taken into protective custody.
The Child Exploitation Investigation Team of England’s West Midlands Police said their unit received information late Thursday that a local man was using the Internet to show inappropriate material of children. An unidentified 18-year-old man was later arrested in Walsall, England.
A day later, on Friday, additional information was obtained by investigators, prompting the West Midland Police to contact officials at the Child Exploitation Online Protection and the U.S. Embassy.
“Our officers worked through the night on Thursday and Friday to ensure the identification and safety of these children across the other side of the world,” West Midlands Police Detective Chief Inspector Dave McCrone said in a statement obtained by FOXNews.com. “Many people use the Internet safely and securely; however, there are a small minority who choose to use it to commit criminality.”
“We work to make people safer, sooner. The very same technology used to commit the crime enables us to work quickly to protect those who may be vulnerable.”
Carr, who is being held on $50,000 bail on charges of gross sexual assault and felony exploitation of a child, was arraigned by videoconference before a judge on Monday. She did not enter a plea, Maine State Police Det. Sgt. John Cote told FOXNews.com.
Cote declined to identify the victim seen during the assault but said one recording was taken as recently as Wednesday.
“That’s kind of what facilitated us acting quickly on this information as we received it,” he told FOXNews.com.
Cote said it was impossible to immediately determine how many individuals viewed the material allegedly posted by Carr. He declined to discuss statements Carr may have given to investigators, but said “this type of crime” is increasingly common.
“It’s just continuing a trend that we’re seeing — an increase in this type of crime,” he said. “But as technology gets better, more units are dedicating more agents to this type of crime and are just getting better at it. It lends itself really to the prevelance of computers in our society.”
Cote, in a release issued on Saturday, said investigators were able to confirm that the woman seen in the video was Carr, and a search warrant was then secured for her home.
Attorney Jeffrey Pickering, who represented Carr during Monday’s arraignment, could not immediately be reached for comment. If convicted, Carr faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.