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ATLANTA -- Three members of an Atlanta family have been sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing and prostituting children.

Thomas Preston Johnson, 45; his sister, 46-year-old Maryland Johnson; and Maryland Johnson's 32-year-old daughter, Crystal Johnson were convicted last month of the charges against them.

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According to information presented in court, the defendants sexually abused three minors from 2004 to 2009. When the abuse began, the children ranged in age from 2 to 4.

Fulton County District Attorney's spokeswoman Yvette Jones said the victims were molested and forced to perform sex acts on the defendants. Two of the children were also prostituted.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge called the abuse "one of the most heinous crimes" she has ever seen in her criminal justice career, Jones said.

The children were rescued after undergoing forensic interviews with police. All three of them received therapy; Jones said one of the victims was so traumatized that he has been in a psychiatric residential treatment facility since 2009.

The defendants all face charges of aggravated child molestation. Thomas Johnson has also been charged with aggravated sodomy and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, while Maryland Johnson faces additional charges of rape and cruelty to children, and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences plus 70 years.

Crystal Johnson has also been charged with sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, rape, cruelty to children and pimping. She was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences plus 150 years.

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