MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Bradenton couple was arrested for transmitting child sexual abuse materials over Facebook.
On Thursday, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Sierra Campany, 24, and Nicholas Bassler Jr., 24.
“What you’re looking at here is pure evil,” Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said in a press conference on Wednesday.
The department’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit received a tip back on June 5 from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about the crime.
Detectives said Facebook flagged the couple’s material which then contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The crimes were pinpointed to Bradenton, and directed to the sheriff’s office.
Manatee County detectives investigated the matter and issued a search warrant on Sept. 13 to the couple’s home. They discovered a child living in the home, along with drugs present. Campany tested positive for PCP while nine months pregnant.
They additionally seized several devices where exploitation images and videos showed the couple performing sex acts on children. The three victims were 10 months old, three years old, and 10 years old.
On Sept. 14, Campany was arrested for capital sexual battery. Detectives discovered she sexually battered a three-year-old and a 10-month-old.
On Sept. 15, Bassler Jr. was also arrested for capital sexual battery for sexually battering a 10-month-old child and a 10-year-old child.
Detectives believe these crimes could have been happening for upwards of six months.
Lieutenant Mark Moire said that Bassler Jr. groomed Campany to push sexual assaults on the children further.
The couple knew the victims and had personal relationships with them. Lieutenant Moire mentioned the couple may have been babysitting the kids, but did not confirm the nature of the relationship.
The couple both face additional charges for possession, transmission, and production of child pornography. Detectives say more charges are possible. They mentioned that Bassler Jr. had a previous 2018 arrest for lewd and lascivious crimes.
In the press conference, Sheriff Wells said the suspects traveled to New York and one of the victims traveled with them. They believe there could be more victims there.
“This case absolutely sickens me,” Sheriff Wells added.
Detectives believe there could be more victims. Anyone who thinks a child has been in contact with Campany or Bassler Jr. is asked to call the department at 941-747-3011, ext. 2522.
The investigation is ongoing.