Created on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS,AP Legal Affairs Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Three people accused of enslaving a mentally disabled woman and her daughter beat the woman, denied her food, sexually assaulted her, threatened her with dogs and snakes and hit her badly enough to require a hospital visit for pain medicine, which they took from her, according to an indictment announced Tuesday.
FILE-This combination of undated file photos released by the Ashland County Sheriff's Office shows, from left, Daniel Brown, Jordie L. Callahan, Jessica L. Hunt, and Dezerah Silsby. The four have been charged Tuesday, July 16, 2013 with enslaving a mentally disabled Ohio woman and her daughter, with allegations that the woman was beaten, denied food, sexually assaulted and threatened with dogs and snakes. Callahan, Silsby and Hunt were indicted on five counts including labor trafficking. Brown was charged in a criminal information of the sort that typically precedes a plea deal. (AP Photo/Ashland County Sheriffs Office, File)
The federal charges also allege the three forced the woman and child to sleep in unsafe and unsanitary conditions in a house in Ashland, 80 miles northeast of Columbus, restricted their access to a bathroom, punished them if they soiled themselves and forced the woman to eat dog food and crawl on the floor wearing a dog collar.
The three held the woman "in a condition of forced labor and involuntary servitude" from August 2010 through October 2012, the indictment said.
The defendants dominated and controlled the woman and her daughter by "a combination of violence, threats, humiliation, sexual assault, deprivation and monitoring," the indictment said.
Jodie Callahan, Jessica Hunt and Dezerah Silsby were indicted on five counts including forced labor, acquiring a controlled substance by deception and theft of government benefits related to allegations they forced the woman to use her public assistance money to buy groceries and cigarettes for them.
The indictment said Callahan forced the woman to engage in sexual acts with him multiple times and threatened that he and Hunt would kill her if she told anyone.
Callahan's attorney declined to comment, saying he hadn't seen the indictment. Messages were left for attorneys representing Hunt and Silsby.
A fourth suspect, Daniel Brown, was charged in a criminal information of the sort that typically precedes a plea deal. With the others, he is accused of punching the woman in the face, slamming her hand in a door, kicking her in the hip and smashing her hand with a rock, forcing her to seek treatment and receive pain medications, which the four confiscated, according to the indictment and Brown's criminal information.
Callahan's mother, Becky Callahan, has said the allegations against the defendants are "all lies." She says the woman was friends with her son and Hunt, her son's girlfriend, and they tried to help her by offering her a place to live.
The defendants closely monitored the woman's shopping trips made on their behalf, threatening to contact the county children's services agency to have her 5-year-old child taken away if she bought anything they hadn't authorized or told anyone about their behavior, according to the indictment.
On Nov. 26, 2011, Callahan and Hunt forced the woman to hit her child, captured the beating on video and threatened to turn it over to police as a way of controlling her, the indictment said.
Police first got involved last fall when the woman was arrested on a candy bar shoplifting case and asked to be jailed because people had been mean to her.