Group Home Slavery And Sexual Abuse Trial Underway
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 19, 2005
WICHITA, KANSAS--The trial of a husband and wife charged with sexually abusing group home residents and forcing them into slavery continued this week with testimony from some of those residents.
Arlan Kaufman, 69, and his wife Linda, 62, were arrested on October 26, 2004 after federal agents removed six people with mental illnesses from their Kansas group homes.
Investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged that the Kaufmans forced the residents to work for them in the nude, punished residents by taking away their clothes, and used a painful stun gun on at least one resident. Authorities also accused the couple of failing to provide any mental health treatment for the last 15 years, but continuing to bill Medicare anyway.
Former residents, testifying on Monday and Tuesday, told the jury that the Kaufmans required them to be nude for much of the time, particularly during and after dinner and whenever the television was on.
A 42-year-old man, who said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, described how he was punished for months at a time by being locked naked in an "isolation room" with only a trashcan for a toilet.
A 47-year-old resident with schizophrenic affective disorder described the home as run-down and infested with cockroaches.
"The problems in the house that could have been fixed were blamed on us," he said.
On Wednesday, a man who had lived in a Kaufman group home testified that he and other residents were forced to work on a "clothing optional" farm to pay off expenses from a trip to Florida.
"It never ended," the man said. "We worked year after year and were reminded about that debt."
The man testified that Mr. Kaufman choked a female resident as many as 30 times. He also described twice-weekly sex "therapy" sessions in which the residents were made to perform sex acts -- with Mr. Kaufman at times touching them inappropriately and Mrs. Kaufman photographing the acts.
The trial was set to continue Wednesday.
Forcing people to work against their will is illegal under the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Those who violate the law can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
[Editors caution: The following articles contain graphic descriptions that may not be suitable to some readers. -- Dave]
"Expert: Kaufmans' actions harmful" (Wichita Eagle)
"Resident: Kaufman was cruel" (Wichita Eagle)
"Witness tells of working off 'debt'" (Wichita Eagle)