FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested the son of a former president of the West African country of Guinea and his wife for allegedly enslaving a countrywoman in their Texas home.
Prosecutors say Mohamed and Denise Cros-Toure, both 57, were being held in a federal detention facility Friday pending a probable cause hearing Monday in Fort Worth on a forced labor charge.
Toure’s attorney, Brady Wyatt, told The Associated Press that his client is the son of late Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Toure.
The Department of Justice press release read, “According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, the defendants and others arranged for the victim, who did not speak English, to travel alone from her village in the Republic of Guinea, in West Africa, to Southlake, Texas, in January 2000 to work for the defendants in their home. The victim’s Guinean passport indicated that she was five years old at the time. Throughout the years, until the victim escaped in August 2016, the defendants forced the victim to labor in their home for long hours without pay. The defendants required her to cook, clean, do the laundry, perform yardwork, and paint, as well as care for their five children. Although the victim was close in age to the children, the defendants denied her access to schooling and the other opportunities afforded to their children.”
Cros-Toure’s attorney Scott Palmer denies the allegations and told AP that the woman, whose name has not been released, was a distant relative sent from Guinea as a child to be raised alongside the couple’s children.
The maximum penalty for a forced-labor conviction is 20 years in a U.S. prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.