A former Fairfield woman was sentenced Monday to eight years in federal prison for participating with her ex-boyfriend in performing and filming sexual acts involving her 8-year old daughter.

Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton said such a low term would not be the case Tuesday when he sentences Edgardo Sensi, the former boyfriend accused of filming similar acts with other children, including a 4-year-old in Nicaragua.

"The court is very disturbed by the film I saw," Eginton said . "It's just so dreadful." He called Sensi a "very evil person."

In sentencing the mother, Eginton said he considered her willingness to spare her daughter from recounting the year-long abuse and to testify herself against Sensi had he gone to trial.

Hearst Connecticut Newspapers are withholding the woman's name in order to protect the identity of her daughter. The daughter, now 18, lives in Florida with foster parents and attends college.

The woman, now 56, met Sensi when both worked at a Norwalk travel agency in 2001. She pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and has been held without bond at the Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island for the past three years.

"I'm going to be forever regretful and ashamed," she told Eginton. She then turned and thanked the foster parents, who were present in the courtroom, for the upbringing they provided her daughter.

Assistant U.S. Public Defender Ronald Resetarits blamed some of the mother's issues on mental and psychological abuse inflicted by first her father and then her former husband. He said they criticized, belittled and often insulted her because of her lack of education and her excessive weight.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna Patel countered that the woman also failed as a parent.

"Any 8-year-old looks to their parents to keep them safe," the prosecutor said. "As a mother she is looked upon as the first line of defense and she failed in every single way."

Patel said "the hours and hours of (filmed) abuse that went on for a year here are simply indescribable ... It's the most vicious crime, short of death, that can be committed on a child."

The prosecutor further said the mother warned her daughter not to tell anyone about what was happening to her.

"The main reason the child may be doing so well today may be because her mother is no longer involved in her life," Patel said.