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Ohio man sentenced to five years in prison for enslaving woman and child

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man was sentenced on Thursday to five years in federal prison for his role in holding captive a cognitively disabled woman and her child and forcing the woman to perform manual labor and eat dog food, prosecutors said.

Daniel J. Brown, 34, was one of four people charged with keeping the woman and child in an apartment in Ashland, Ohio, from 2010 to 2012 by using violence, threats and sexual assault. Ashland is about 65 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Brown pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiring with the others to dominate the woman and child.

According to court documents and testimony, Brown and the others threatened the woman and child with pit bulls and a large snake, kept them in a locked room, restricted bathroom access and forced the woman to crawl on the floor while wearing a dog collar.

"The manner in which this young lady and her small child were treated during two years of involuntary servitude is beyond disturbing," Special Agent Stephen Anthony of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the defendants also injured the woman so she could obtain narcotic pain medication, which they then took from her.

Two other defendants, Jordie Callahan, 27, and Jessica Hunt, 32, were convicted in early March of conspiracy, forced labor and acquiring a controlled substance by deception. They are scheduled to be sentenced in July.

Dezerah Silsby, 32, also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced later in March.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey, Toni Reinhold)

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