ELIZABETHTON — A Hampton woman is facing state and federal charges following an investigation of what Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said was one of the worst crimes he has seen in his long career.
Crystal Renee Dawn Poore, 32, 103 Nave St., Lot 3, Hampton, was picked up by federal authorities on sex and child abuse charges this week. Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks said she is also facing several state charges, including aggravated rape of a child, three counts of rape of a child, four counts of incest and eight counts of aggravated sexual battery.
Mathes said there were numerous photographs of the abuse that had been “bought, sold, swapped and traded,” around the world. He said the pictures were “horrible” and would not be released, but specific photographs were used to indict Poore.
“In my 22-year career, nearly 23, this is the worst case of sexual abuse I have ever seen. He said the charges stem from the mother’s abuse of her children aged 2, 6 and eight. He repeated the ages slowly to news media gathered for a Wednesday afternoon press conference to announce the arrest.
Poore was indicted on the state charges by a Carter County grand jury on July 15.
Brooke said a conviction of aggravated rape of a child carries a minimum sentence of 40 years. The rape of a child charges carry sentences of 25-40 years. The aggravated sexual battery charge carry sentences of 8 to 12 years and the incest charges carry 3 to 6 years. He said there were provisions in the law for consecutive sentences.
Although Poore is now in federal custody, bond was set on her state charges at $320,000.
Mathes said his department became aware of the allegations against Poore through information received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He said his investigators moved quickly in order to protect the children.
Capt. Mike Little said the investigation had the highest priority and moved quickly, but it was thorough enough to determine Poore was acting alone. He said the father of the children was not aware of her activities.
Little said investigators at both the county and federal level displayed a lot of “passion” in the case and “I very much appreciate them for their efforts.”
The children are now in state custody, but the sheriff and Little wondered how much damage the children had suffered and whether they could recover.