Alleged Enslaved Ohio Woman Says She Was Threatened With Vicious Animals
Three people have been charged with enslaving a 29-year-old mentally disabled woman and her 6-year-old child in Cleveland, Ohio.
The alleged victim, who has not been identified, claims she was kept against her will by two men and a woman who forced her to do housework without pay in their home for two years, beginning in late 2011. She claims that the suspects threatened her with snakes, pit bulls and a gun to coerce her into submission.
“These defendants violated the victim’s most basic civil right, freedom, by exploiting her most basic instinct, the protection of her child,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office in a statement. “The FBI continues to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those individuals who abuse and harm innocent members of our community.”
The suspects–Jordie Callahan, 26, Jessica Hunt, 31, and Daniel J. Brown, 33–were charged with forced labor, a federal crime and are pleading not guilty. They claim that the woman was voluntarily staying their home in order to retain custody of her daughter following a child abuse allegation.
Andrew Hyde, the lawyer representing Callahan, told the Associated Press:
“There was never any forced labor, any forced co-habitation. She was never forced to do anything. She used this story to get out of trouble she was in” with regard to a child-abuse allegation.
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