Fri., 5:32 pm : 2 charged with enslaving woman found guilty

YOUNGSTOWN (AP) – An Ohio couple was convicted Friday of enslaving a mentally disabled woman for two years through intimidation, abuse and threats they would harm her young child.

Jordie Callahan and his girlfriend Jessica Hunt were convicted by jurors in federal court in Youngstown a day after their lawyers argued prosecutors had built their case around unreliable witnesses.

But prosecutors said the couple kept the woman and her daughter, who was under age 5, in a damp, dark basement with a lock on the door and no bathroom. They also threatened both with a python and pit bulls and forced the woman to shop, cook, clean up after their dogs and do other household chores, said assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice.

Prosecutors said the woman also was forced her to engage in sexual acts.

Callahan, 27, and Hunt, 32, were convicted on charges that included forced labor conspiracy. But both were found not guilty of stealing the woman’s government benefits and tampering with a witness.

“There were a lot of horrific allegations made by the government in this case that we do not believe were supported by the evidence,” said Ed Bryan, Hunt’s attorney.

Callahan’s attorney said he hopes to appeal.