Northeast Ohio man accused of enslaving mentally disabled woman to be sentenced in Youngstown

The Associated Press
July 21, 2014 11:07 PM

FILE - This undated file photo released by the Ashland County Sheriff's Office shows Jordie L. Callahan. A jury there found Callahan guilty of forced labor, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and a drug charge in March. His sentencing is Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Ashland County Sheriffs Office, File)

CLEVELAND - A man accused of enslaving a mentally disabled woman in northeast Ohio is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Youngstown.

A jury in March found Jordie Callahan, 27, guilty of forced labour, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and a drug charge. His sentencing is Tuesday.

Prosecutors contend that Callahan and his girlfriend repeatedly injured the woman so she would have to seek treatment and that they would then take any painkillers she'd be prescribed. They also allowed their juvenile sons to physically abuse the woman and her young daughter, prosecutors alleged.

That jury found the girlfriend, 31-year-old Jessica Hunt, guilty of the same three charges. She is expected to be sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Callahan and Hunt, who lived about 67 miles southwest of Cleveland in Ashland, threatened to harm the woman's daughter if the woman did not obey them.

It was alleged that the couple at one point made the woman and child sleep in a damp, dark basement with no mattress or access to a bathroom and would make the woman shop, cook, do chores and clean up after their pit bull dogs. Prosecutors have asked Judge Benita Pearson to sentence Callahan and Hunt to life in prison.

Callahan's and Hunt's attorneys continue to fight for a new trial. They have questioned the credibility of the government's witnesses, including the alleged victim, and have argued that the woman left the house nearly every day, including trips to a convenience store and to social service agencies. The attorneys said social workers visited the woman and her child at the defendant's home during the time she was allegedly enslaved.


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