DETROIT - Four men were sentenced Tuesday in what prosecutors called an "epic case of internet child exploitation."
The charges are so broad that federal officials charged the men using a method normally reserved for organized crime rings.
Parents of the victims said their daughters have been traumatized by the incident. Young girls who like sports and Girl Scouts were talked into sexual activity in internet chat rooms, changing their lives and damaging their mental health, parents said.
Groups of men worked together around the globe, disguising themselves as teenage boys and inviting young girls to join them in chat rooms, officials said. They would then talk them into sexual activity, including getting naked and sometimes performing sex acts with friends or worse, according to officials.
The stories were shared Tuesday in a federal courtroom in Detroit of the men amping up the contacts and threatening to hurt family members if the girls didn't do more, according to prosecutors.
Some girls were recorded disrobing after having cut themselves in suicidal self destruction, according to court documents.
Terry Kovac, 49, was arrested in Nevada. Felipe Domingue-Neha, 31, was arrested in Arkansas. Eric Robinson, 42, was arrested in Minnesota. Dr. Noah Eisley, 42, was arrested in New York City.
Parents lined up to speak at the sentencing Tuesday.
"Evil has been brought into our lives," one parent said. "A brood of vipers hunting our children."
"These vultures (are) precise, practiced, skilled predators," another parent said. "You took away the innocence of childhood from my child. Justice is the maximum sentence."
Judge Stephen Murphy could have given the men life sentences, but in exchange for guilty pleas, Kovac received 37 years, Dominguez-Neha received 41 years, Robinson received 34 years and Eisley received 35 years.
There are elements of other crimes involved in the case, including child pornography, officials said.
Two more men will be sentenced Wednesday in Detroit, and more arrests are anticipated in the global case, officials said.
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