$850,000. This is the price of justice for Nena Ruiz, Pinay teacher turned ‘slave dog’ in Los Angeles, U.S.A. For years, a Hollywood couple apparently thought she wasn’t human, and treated her like a diseased animal.
The maid was forced to work 18 hours a day, eat moldy, three-day-old food and sleep in a mongrel’s basket. For driving her into near insanity, an L.A. court has convicted the helper’s evil bosses.
U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer ordered James Jackson, 53, former vice-president of legal affairs at Sony Pictures to perform 200 hours of community service for admitting a charge of alien harboring.
Jackson’s wife Elizabeth, 54, was given a three-year jail term after pleading guilty to a charge of forced labor.
Ruiz won 825,000 dollars in damages from her former employers at a 2004 civil trial in Los Angeles.
In passing sentence, Fischer said Elizabeth Jackson had treated Ruiz, worse than her dog. Over the course of several months’ employment between 2001 and 2002, the Pinay was paid only 300 dollars.
“These defendants subjected their victim to what amounts to modern-day slavery,” said Justice Department prosecutor Wan Kim after the Jacksons pleaded guilty in August last year.
In a related civil lawsuit, Ruiz said Elizabeth Jackson regularly slapped her and pulled her hair. The Jacksons also threatened to turn her over to immigration authorities if she left them, Ruiz said. Ruiz finally fled the Jacksons after she was hit in the mouth with a water bottle in February 2002.
Elizabeth said in a letter read out in court on Monday that she took full responsibility for her actions. “In my life I have always tried and strived to do the right thing. I failed in this case,” she added.
Defense lawyers argued against a jail sentence for Jackson, saying the couple had already suffered enough by being forced to declare bankruptcy.
However Fischer denied a request for home confinement, telling the court: “It seems she treated her dog much better than she treated her victim.”
Source: Journal Online