Audra Elizabeth Mabel, 34, a former elementary school teacher in Seminole County, Florida, is facing federal charges after investigators said she produced and distributed child pornography. She was arrested in mid-March of 2019.
Officials said Mabel created the videos while she was working as a teacher in Lansing, Michigan, and sent them to her former boyfriend in Florida. The FBI says Mabel used her baby son in the videos.
The criminal complaint also states that Mabel confessed to investigators and admitted to shooting footage of her son’s penis.
On May 10, 2019, the defense requested that the trial, which had been scheduled to begin on June 3, be delayed until August. Mabel remains behind bars.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. FBI: Officials Discovered Videos Produced by Audra Mabel While Investigating Her Former Boyfriend, Justin Ritchie, For Child Abuse
Audra Elizabeth Mabel was not the initial target of an investigation. Rather, officials stumbled upon videos she later admitted to having produced because they were on her ex-boyfriend’s cellphone.
The criminal complaint, filed by Special Agent Rod Hyre of the FBI, states that the Sanford Police Department and Seminole County Sheriff were investigating “possible sexual battery… to a child victim” by a suspect identified only as J.R. in the document. His wife called police after their four-year-old daughter said that her father had “licked” her private parts.
The complaint explains that a forensic child interviewer sat down with the little girl on March 6, 2019. She repeated that her father had licked her private parts many times, had her hold his cellphone so he could record what he was doing, and that he had put her penis into his mouth.
The Sanford Police arrested J.R. on March 8, 2019. Investigators seized his digital devices in order to conduct forensic examinations. The affidavit states that police found videos of J.R. sexually abusing his daughter as well as his 1-year-old child.
J.R. has been identified as Justin Ritchie. He is charged with Sexual Assault by a Custodian of a Victim under Age 12 and was being held at the Seminole County Jail.
2. FBI: Audra Mabel Shot Videos of Her Son’s Penis & of Herself Masturbating With Her Son Also On the Bed
The examination of J.R.’s cellphone revealed ten videos that had come from Audra Mabel, according to the criminal complaint. Special Agent Hyre identified Mabel’s son as L.M. in the document.
The affidavit states that Mabel shot footage of her son lying naked on his back on a changing table. She focused on his penis and rarely showed his face. In one of the video, officials said Mabel “manipulated” her son’s penis so that it was erect. The complaint details that in one of the videos, “Mabel secretes her breast milk onto the child’s penis.”
Another video shows Mabel naked on her bed. The affidavit says that she was “masturbating with a phallic device while L.M. sucks on her breast. L.M. appears to be one-year-old in the video.”
The videos were filmed with Mabel’s iPhone. The complaint says that investigators determined that at least one of the videos was recorded in Lansing, Michigan, in July of 2017. Mabel was living there at the time.
3. FBI: Audra Mabel Shot a Sexually Explicit Video of Herself in Her Classroom, With Her Students in the Room
Audra Mabel is also accused of recording herself while in her classroom. The affidavit states that she taught first graders in Lansing. It explains that Mabel “used her iPhone to record her exposed vagina from underneath her skirt.”
Officials said Mabel then focused the camera on her face, before turning the camera to record the students in the classroom. The complaint says Mabel also recorded the students as she talked to them.
4. Audra Mabel Confessed to Police That She Had Shot the Videos & Explained That She & J.R. Talked About Sex With Children During Their Own Bedroom Time
Special Agent Rod Hyre of the FBI, along with other law enforcement officials, interviewed Audra Mabel at her home in Seminole County, Florida, on March 13, 2019. The complaint states that Mabel admitted to having shot the videos, including the ones that involved her young son.
Mabel explained that she had recorded the videos when she was living in Lansing and had sent them to J.R. over the internet. She told officials that this occurred during the very beginning of her relationship with J.R,, in July of 2017. But she said she ended her romantic relationship with J.R. in 2018 because “he would not leave his wife.”
Mabel also admitted that fantasies about child sex abuse were part of her and J.R.’s own sex life. The affidavit reads, “Mabel said that J.R. had discussed children with her sexually in the past and that they sometimes incorporated role-play and fantasies of child sex abuse into their sexual relations, at times using the names of J.R.’s minor children. Mabel and J.R. also read stories to each other about sex between children and adults.”
Mabel was arrested and booked into the Seminole County Jail on March 14, according to inmate records. She faces federal charges of Sexual Exploitation of Children and Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography.
According to federal documents, a judge in the Middle District of Florida ordered Mabel detained pending trial. The document states that Mabel “makes no application for release at this time.”
5. Audra Mabel Was Immediately Fired From Her Job After the School District Learned of the Charges Against Her
Audra Mabel previously taught first grade while living in Lansing, Michigan, according to the criminal complaint. The Lansing State Journal reported that Mabel taught at Lyons School in the Lansing School District from November 2016 through June of 2017.
Mabel moved to Seminole County, Florida in 2018. ABC affiliate WFTV-TV in Orlando reported that Mabel taught kindergarten Spring Lake Elementary in the suburb of Altamonte Springs. Seminole County Public Schools fired Mabel after learning of the charges. The TV station also reported that Mabel has a master’s degree in education from the University of Florida.