Michigan couple force woman with severe disabilities to work as $200-an-hour prostitute and live in a shed
A Michigan couple reportedly forced a woman with severe disabilities to live in a shed and work as a $200-an-hour prostitute.
The couple, 40-year-old Michael Welch and 32-year-old Misty George, forced the unidentified 29-year-old woman into prostitution and did not let her keep the money she was paid for performing the sex acts. The duo was sentenced on Thursday, May 16, in Macomb County, Michigan, according to a Metro report.
The couple also denied the woman access to use the restroom or the shower in their mobile home, which was just feet away from the shed, prosecutors said. Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, authorities said Welch and George also snatched support money the victim received from the government for her disabilities.
The woman was initially allowed to live in the couple's home. However, she was moved to the shed in 2017 after she failed to pay the rent they asked from her. According to Macomb Daily, Welch and George posted online ads about sexual services offered through their victim. In court, the victim testified that at one instance, two of the "dates" involved the same man. While George paid her $50 for the first date, she stopped payments after that.
In October 2017, Prosecutor Eric Smith announced the charges saying, "Instead of helping this profoundly special-needs person, (the couple) took her support money, forced her to live rough in an outside shed, and sold her as a prostitute. As your heart breaks for this vulnerable woman, your conscience is shocked by the abusive cruelty one human being is capable of showing to another."
According to neighbors, they had no idea of what went on at the couple's home until the victim called for help and had to be rushed to a hospital.
Speaking to the Free Press, neighbor Colleen Budzynski said, "I just don’t understand. I feel like I fell for something. I feel guilty because I didn't see this…It's shocking." Another neighbor, Lou Ann Boylen said: "It freaked me out."
Following the ordeal, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Michael Servitto sentenced Welch to five to 20 years in prison for charges including human trafficking and forced labor. Welch was also sentenced to four to 40 years for prostitution or accepting earnings from prostitution and will get credit for the 589 days he has already served behind bars.
Meanwhile, George was sentenced to five years of probation and is set to receive credit for the 422 days she has already served.