Woman gets 20 years for abuse

Published 10:14 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

A former Suffolk woman received 20 years to serve for molesting two boys, ages 1 and 5, in Suffolk Circuit Court on Monday.

Sierra Danyelle Halsey, now 24, will serve that time on top of the 15 years she received in federal court last year for producing child pornography. She videotaped the acts with the boys and planned to sell the videos to her boyfriend.

The acts happened in April 2013 at her former residence in the 5000 block of Townpoint Road, a city spokeswoman said at the time of Halsey’s arrest on the state charges in March.

Email newsletter signup

“We feel very guilty because we feel like we didn’t protect him,” the mother of the 1-year-old victim said during Monday’s hearing in front of Judge Carl E. Eason Jr.

She said Halsey would ask to pick up her son on occasion while the mother was away serving in the military. The mother said she and her husband noticed afterward that their son would shake during baths, which they now connect to the abuse he suffered.

The couple has moved to another state and now trusts nobody else to watch their son, the mother testified.

Halsey was the girlfriend of Robert H. Scott, also known as “Mike Pyro,” who convinced at least five women to attend sex parties at area hotels and solicited them to produce child pornography and send it to him.

Scott promised Halsey $150,000 for the child pornography but never paid her. Scott sometimes extorted the women by threatening to publish the videos online.

Prosecutor Marie Walls said Halsey was motivated by greed.

“She knew it was wrong, but she kept saying to herself, ‘Do it for the money,’” Walls said, paraphrasing a report prepared for the hearing.

Halsey didn’t appear to be manipulated by fear of Scott, Walls added, but did it simply because she liked him. Walls noted Halsey deposited $1,000 into Scott’s canteen account and destroyed evidence at his behest after he was in jail, when she would not have had reason to fear him any longer.

“It behooves the court to send a message not only to Ms. Halsey but also to the community that the ongoing abuse of a 1-year-old and a 5-year-old will not be tolerated,” Walls said.

Halsey defense attorney, Jean Veness, agreed the acts were “reprehensible.”

“She has done some despicable things, but she herself is not a despicable person,” Veness said. “Ms. Halsey isn’t the only naïve, immature person who got caught up in this scheme. She lost her perspective at the behest of very strong-willed individual.”

Veness also noted Halsey was unemployed at the time and said the state charges on top of the federal sentence “seems a bit of overkill.”

Walls returned to the fact that she abused two children for nothing other than money and changed the lives of several families forever.

“We may hope that (the victim) doesn’t remember what happened,” but the effects will live on in the family’s life, she said.

Halsey spoke before her sentencing.

“My goal in life is to make better decisions from this day forward,” she said.

Eason said Halsey had used “the most innocent among us” in her crimes. He noted she came from a normal family, had risen to management positions at a young age in prior jobs, and was on track to follow in her mother’s career of medical care.

“All the signs of you and your family and your life, up until this, pointed to success,” he said.