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'How can I teach her to love,' says mother of girl victimized by father

TAMPA — On a Saturday in 2016, an Orlando father took his little girl on a trip to Lowry Park Zoo. The 7-year-old was excited to finally meet her dad's new friends, a Tampa couple who had talked to the girl on Skype, telling her how cute she was.

Homeland Security agents later discovered pictures of the zoo trip while investigating a shocking advertisement her father had placed online: He was looking for people to engage in sexual activity with his daughter.

Federal authorities found photos and videos of the girl's sexual abuse by the couple, not just after that trip to the zoo but again two days later in a Tampa hotel room, according to court records and testimony.

Richmond McDonald, 40, and his wife Shauna Boselli, 25, pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, and the girl's father, 34, pleaded guilty to producing and possessing child pornography.

The Tampa Bay Times is not naming the girl's parents to protect her identity.

Her father was sentenced in August to 75 years in prison.

Boselli and McDonald face a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in federal prison and could receive up to a life sentence from U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez-Covington at the continuation of a sentencing hearing Nov. 21.

The hearing began Friday with statements from experts and relatives — including the mother of the victim, who traveled from Orlando to describe what her daughter's life has become.

"It breaks my heart to see her so fragile," the mother said.

The girl doesn't like making new friends anymore. Crowds make her nervous and the thought of a change in routine or a new task to complete can send her into a "tailspin, a meltdown of distress and sobbing," the mother said.

She was taken from her home for the Department of Children and Families to investigate the mother. When the girl was allowed to return, they moved to a new home in a new part of town, leaving behind every photo of her childhood and every reminder of her father.

The girl was tested for sexually transmitted diseases and diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

"How can I teach her to love and trust someone when trust was so irrevocably taken from us?" the mother told the judge.

But Boselli's lawyer, Stephen Crawford, said she knew how to win over the girl with ice cream and stuffed animals because Boselli, too, had been sexually abused as a child.

"I hate myself for what I've done, and I make no excuses and wish to get help," Boselli told the judge Friday. "There are many emotional and mental demons I need to fight, and I know it won't be easy."

But this time, Boselli was not the victim.

The little girl's mother said her daughter had come to Tampa to play in the couple's yard, to swim at a hotel pool and to take a trip to the zoo.

What happened would linger, the mother feared.

"As years progress and her milestones change," the mother said, "she will always have new needs for therapy to help her learn to cope with this trauma, not become a victim herself or victimize others."