RICHMOND — A Berea couple accused of selling two teenage relatives for sex last month were arrested in 2002 on a charge of attempting to sell an infant daughter in a Danville Wal-Mart parking lot for a private adoption.
On Wednesday, Madison District Court Judge Charles Hardin found probable cause for a grand jury to consider charges that Anthony Wayne Hart, 47, and Kathy Hart, 43, induced and enticed the teens to engage in illegal sexual activity with older men. A grand jury will hear evidence to determine whether to indict the Harts.
Anthony Wayne Hart was charged by Berea police in late February with two counts of unlawful transaction with a minor. His wife, Kathy Hart, was charged with one count of unlawful transaction with a minor.
One of the teens told police that Anthony Hart "encouraged them to go with men in order to gain clothes, food and money," according to court records. Kathy Hart induced and enticed the girls "to engage in illegal sexual activity with older men to pay for their food and clothes," court records say.
Kathy Hart also received "monetary payment" when the girls met with men at "various places in Berea, Richmond, Mount Vernon, Somerset and Lancaster," court records say. This allegedly took place in December 2010.
Berea Police Capt. Ken Clark said the two girls were taken into the protective custody of the state after the Harts were arrested in February.
In November 2002, the Harts were charged in Danville with attempting to sell a 3-month-old daughter for adoption. The Harts were arrested on charges of prohibited acts and practices in the adoption of children.
In the 2002 incident, Kentucky State Police recorded a transaction between Anthony Hart and an undercover trooper at the Danville Wal-Mart during which Hart received $3,000 to terminate his parental rights. A warrant at the time said he "demanded and accepted payment for allowing the adoption of his natural born child."
Anthony Hart initially pleaded not guilty but later entered into a plea agreement. He was sentenced to two years in prison, and at one point was denied shock probation, according to court records.
The charge against Kathy Hart was dismissed after a Boyle Circuit Court judge ruled that she was incompetent to stand trial.
The Harts remain in the Madison County jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.