‘Drugs did this to me and I’m sorry’: Eden mom, 2 defendants sentenced in child prostitution case

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WENTWORTH, NC — The mother accused of selling her mentally-handicapped daughters out for sex acts was sentenced Tuesday, as were two of the men who admitted to hiring them.

Teresa Ann Vanover was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in jail. She was charged with 24 counts of promoting prostitution of a person with severe, profound mental disabilities and 24 counts of felony child abuse.

In court testimony read Tuesday, Vanover said she engaged in sex acts with men to earn money for her late husband’s illness and for her crack cocaine addiction. In court documents, Vanover admitted to sometimes bringing her 13 and 15-year-old daughters along to partake in the sex acts with older men. Payment would range from $5 to $20.

“Drugs did this to me and I’m sorry,” Vanover wrote in a letter read aloud by her attorney in court. “I’ve made some terrible decisions I’m not proud of…I am truly wholeheartedly sorry for what I’ve done to our family. I broke up a lot of families up and it hurts knowing that I did that.”

Presiding Judge Mike Duncan called it “one of the most disturbing cases I’ve ever heard in my ten years on the bench.”

District Attorney Craig Blitzer said, initially, Vanover’s plea arrangement was for 40 years in jail, but was reduced to 20 because of the amount of information she gave to prosecutors. Without her cooperation and honest testimony, Blitzer said, it may have been difficult to find the men involved.

Vanover’s two sisters were in court and told FOX8 they believe their sister got what she deserved.

“Teresa’s a good person deep down inside,” her sister, Angela Mills, said. “Teresa has a good heart. She just got herself mixed up in a bad situation. Everybody’s suffering. From the kids to the family members all the way around. We’re all feeling it.”

“It was wrong what she did and she did deserve to be punished,” sister Susan Weaver added. “We were floored when we found out what she did.”

Blitzer said that Vanover was discovered when her older daughter went to police.

Many of the sex acts, according to testimonies, occurred in Tommy Woodall’s barber shop in downtown Eden. Woodall pled guilty to engaging in sex acts with the girls and, according to Blitzer, was sentenced to 16 years in jail in March.

Defendants Everett James Ferris and Donnie Ray Carter were also sentenced Tuesday. Both are accused of engaging in sexual activities with Vanover and at least one of her daughters.

According to testimony read aloud in court, both men met Vanover through Tommy Woodall.

Court documents state that Ferris engaged in sex acts with Vanover for years and with at least one of her daughters on multiple occasions.

Ferris will spend a minimum of 80 months in jail, three years on probation and is required to register as a sex offender for the next thirty years.

Through his attorney, Ferris offered an apology in court, saying he was sorry to the court, individuals involved and families affected. His attorney noted that Ferris served in the National Guard for eight years and has been married 33 years.

Donnie Carter accepted an Alford plea agreement Tuesday, in which he will spend a minimum of 64 months in jail and three years on probation.

According to court testimony, Carter, who has been married 27 years, had multiple sexual encounters with Vanover and one with Vanover’s daughter.

Carter was ordered to return to jail June 7 to begin his sentence.

Attorneys for all three defendants said their clients had no prior criminal record.

Vanover’s two daughters are in the care of the Department of Social Services and family members say they hope to get custody of her 6-year-old son.

Another defendant in the case, Mickey Snow, is due in court Wednesday. Vanover’s attorney said she is prepared to testify against him if the time comes.

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