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Woman receives life terms for baby rape

May 2, 2012 at 11:44 AM

CLAYTON, Mo., May 2 (UPI) -- A Missouri woman who admitted participating in the rape of her infant girl was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.

Attorneys for Tessa L. Vanvlerah, 22, of Ballwin, failed to convince a St. Louis County Circuit Court judge that Vanvlerah should receive probation because she had a psychological disorder, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Dr. Brooke Kraushaar testified during Vanvlerah's sentencing hearing that a dependent personality disorder caused her to participate in the sexual fantasies of Kenneth Kyle, a college professor from California, even though she knew the sex acts involving her then-5-month-old daughter were wrong.

Kyle, who met Vanvlerah online, was sentenced in March to 37 1/2 years in a federal prison after pleading guilty of abusing the child when he visited St. Louis several times in 2009.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kathi Alizadeh, however, rejected Kraushaar's diagnosis and pushed for the two life sentences.

Vanvlerah was forced to give up custody of the child after being charged in April 2010 with first-degree statutory rape and sodomy, as well as incest and child pornography. The pornography charge was dropped before she entered a guilty plea in January.

The child's foster mother testified that the girl, now 3, still has night terrors and asks her at bedtime to make sure nobody comes to the home.

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