Couple accused of trafficking teen, using her as servant
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) - A Hawaii couple are accused of holding a 15-year-old girl captive and forcing her to work as a servant. Investigators report the teen was also repeatedly beaten.
Kevin and Pomerrine Robert were charged Friday on suspicion of labor trafficking. They made their first court appearance Monday, Hawaii News Now reports.
Authorities say the couple helped a 15-year-old girl and her mother move to the Palolo neighborhood in Honolulu last summer from Guam. Sources allege the Roberts took their passports immediately after picking them up from the airport.
Investigators report the teenage victim told them she suffered terrible beatings while being forced to watch a child and do the household chores. She said she was kept out of school when she had visible bruises.
Police were called after the girl told a school counselor.
The girl told police that in the latest beating, Kevin Robert allegedly held her down while Pomerrine Robert hit her with a metal curtain rod. Sources say she was then locked in a room for five days with only water, chips and a plastic bucket for a toilet.
Court documents said in February, the teen went to visit a friend who lived nearby. When Pomerrine Robert found her, the girl was allegedly grabbed by the hair and dragged through the housing complex back to the apartment.
The documents said the suspect produced an ice pipe and told the teen to smoke it. When the girl said no, the woman allegedly held her down while she punched her in the face.
The girl allegedly told an officer the couple had also abused her mother and that her mother was afraid to go to police. It’s unclear whether she could be charged for failing to report her daughter’s abuse.
The Roberts’ bail was set at $250,000. They face up to 20 years in prison and are due back in court Thursday.
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