CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A woman who admitted participating in the rape of her infant daughter was sentenced in St. Louis County Court to two consecutive life sentences.
Attorneys for Tessa L. Vanvlerah, 22, of Ballwin, argued unsuccessfully that she suffered from dependent-personality disorder.
A forensic psychologist testified that the disorder caused Vanvlerah to participate in the sexual fantasies of Kenneth M. Kyle, though she knew the sex acts involving her 5-month-old daughter were wrong.
Kyle, a college professor in California, was sentenced in March to 37½ years in federal prison.
The psychologist characterized Vanvlerah as a passive offender, who out of fear of rejection allowed Kyle to choke, burn and urinate on her, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The psychologist testified that prison time would put Vanvlerah at risk of getting into more trouble due to the dominant personalities there.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kathi Alizadeh disputed the diagnosis and sought the two life sentences. Alizadeh argued that Vanvlerah exercised free will in electronic communications with another man and carved her nickname for the man into her skin at his request, yet drew the line at one of his suggestions involving bestiality. Alizadeh said police also learned of Vanvlerah talking to another man from Avon, Mo., about having sex with the infant, but it was never acted upon.
In 2008, a woman obtained a court order of protection against Vanvlerah, then 18, accusing her of seducing and having sex with her 16-year-old autistic son, according to the Post-Dispatch. Alizadeh said that affair resulted in Vanvlerah’s pregnancy.