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A Pulaski County man, who along with his wife is charged with human trafficking for allegedly trying to force their teenage daughters to perform sexual acts with men in exchange for cash and gifts, is scheduled to appear in court here Thursday after being arrested on an outstanding bench warrant.
Anthony Hart, 49, allegedly took off with $320 and a work van in 2011 while working as a subcontractor for ARPRO Refrigeration.
Hart was originally arrested on the charge in February of 2011. He posted a $5,000 bond but failed to return to court. He was arrested again on a bench warrant in 2012 but released again on bond the following day.
He is now jailed in the Shelby County Detention Center and is scheduled to appear Thursday at 9 a.m. in Anderson District Court, according to court documents.
Hart and his wife, Kathy, 45, were scheduled to stand trial this month in Pulaski County for allegedly pimping their daughters, who were 13 and 14 at the time, between October of 2009 and February of 2011, according to news reports in the Commonwealth Journal.
The couple faced charges in 2002 for attempting to collect $3,000 for themselves as part of an ongoing adoption involving their 3-month-old baby girl, the paper reported in July.
Anthony Hart received a two-year prison sentence when he pleaded guilty in 2005 to his part in the adoption scheme. Kathy Hart escaped additional jail time because she was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The Harts, who were living in Berea at the time they were charged with pimping their daughters, have pleaded not guilty to those charges.
The initial investigation into the pimping charges began in December 2010 when a teacher from the school the two girls attended noticed them standing in front of a local movie theater, dressed in lacy tops, tight jeans, and boots. At least one man was heard asking Anthony Hart “how much he wanted” for both girls, according to reports.
A police investigation and a follow-up investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services allegedly determined the Harts were forcing the girls to allow men to touch them, kiss them, and take pictures of them partially undressed in exchange for money or gifts. Kathy Hart would allegedly approach men in stores in Berea, Richmond, Lancaster, Mount Vernon, and Somerset and ask them if they would like to “spend time with” the girls.
Both girls allegedly stated through police interviews that the Harts “made them go out with guys for money, food and clothing.” Both girls were placed in foster care and underwent counseling. They have remained in foster care since the Harts were arrested.
The Richmond Register, a sister paper to the Commonwealth Journal, reported that in recent interviews with the children, who have been in foster care, the detective who investigated the case allegedly uncovered evidence of sex crimes that occurred when the girls were with the adult men, according to the Commonwealth Journal.