Couple accused of sexually abusing girl and recording it

Couple accused of sexually abusing girl and recording it

SALEM, Ore. -- Federal agents arrested two Salem parents who agents said took pictures and recorded videos of sexual acts with a young girl.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Michelle Lee Freeman and her husband Michael Freeman in Salem on Tuesday after they called local police to turn themselves in, according to court documents.

The Freemans appeared in court on Wednesday.

The child exploitation-fighting unit of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations worked the case and said Michelle Freeman produced child pornography videos featuring herself and her husband engaging in sexual contact a young girl.

Last month, federal officials issued a nationwide alert, and received a tip that a woman resembling Freeman may have recently worked in the Seattle-Tacoma area. At the time federal agents did not know her real name.

After that plea made the rounds on Facebook, somebody called investigators saying they knew where the woman was.

"We use the same technology that they use to trade the child pornography to help the public help us identify them," said Special Agent in Charge Brad Bench.

In court documents, a Special Agent Mark Inman wrote that investigators received several tips that the woman they were looking for was indeed Michelle Freeman. On Tuesday, officers from the Salem Police Department called and said they talked to Freeman, who said she was willing to turn herself in.

Federal agents showed up at the Freemans' house and arrested the husband and wife.

"This is a tragic example of children being manipulated and victimized," said Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore.

According to Inman, Michael Freeman admitted that he and his wife took sexual photos and videos of the 9-year-old girl while a 6-year-old girl was present.

Freeman said he was in a "bad place" when he did it, Inman wrote in court documents.

In the photos, the older girl performed a sexual act on Michael Freeman and the parents had sex with the girl present, Inman said.

The couple then started making videos of the sexual abuse, agents said.

"I started it. Somehow she (Michelle Freeman) got involved," Michael Freeman told agents, according to court documents.

Bench said the case was especially disturbing. In the images, he said Michael always hid his face, although Michelle did not.

"Any time there is sexual exploitation of a child, as a caring human, as a parent, I don't think you can be unaffected by it," he said. "It's always disturbing."

Court documents show the videos were filmed inside the master bedroom at the couple's home.

Michelle Freeman refused to speak with investigators about the allegations.

Both were arrested and face federal charges for the sexual exploitation of a child.

"Cases like this strike at the heart of all of us," said U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall. "These arrests mark the culmination of a coast-to-coast, multi-agency investigation into allegations of horrendous acts of child sexual abuse and exploitation."

Agents have not said if they believe there are any other victims.