WASHINGTON - George Udeozor, 52, formerly of Darnestown, Md., pleaded guilty today to holding a Nigerian girl in involuntary servitude, the Justice Department announced. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for Oct. 7, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.
George Udeozor faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. As part of his plea agreement, Udeozor has agreed to pay $110,249.60 in restitution to the victim. Udeozor also admits as part of his plea agreement that his sentence may be enhanced because: he knew or should have known that the victim was a "vulnerable victim"; the victim was held in a condition of involuntary servitude for over one year; and the offense of harboring an illegal alien was committed during the offense of involuntary servitude.
According to his plea agreement, in September 1996, George Udeozor traveled to Nigeria and using the passport of his oldest daughter, smuggled a 14-year-old Nigerian girl to his home in Maryland. He and his then-wife, Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, used the girl as an unpaid domestic servant and child care provider for their six children for approximately five years, from October 1996 to Oct. 28, 2001. The victim cooked, cleaned the home, did laundry, and took care of the Udeozor children. During that time, the victim was physically abused.
"The defendant stole part of the victim's youth by sexually abusing and forcing a teenage African girl to serve as a domestic servant for over one year," stated Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's guilty plea and restitution order hopefully can provide some measure of solace and closure to this sad chapter in the victim's life as she embarks on a brighter future."
"George Udeozor violated the prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude, which is a bedrock principle of American law," said Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, federal and state agencies, and nonprofit organizations, in conjunction with Maryland’s Human Trafficking Task Force, to locate human trafficking victims and prosecute perpetrators."
"Forcing a helpless and innocent girl into a life of servitude while inflicting physical violence is simply intolerable," said James A. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Baltimore. "ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves and will continue to work in partnership with federal prosecutors, non-governmental organizations and the public at large to ensure that those who engage in such unconscionable crimes are brought to justice."
The Udeozors did not send the victim to school and did not pay the victim or her family for her work. At times, the victim also worked in the offices of Adaobi Stella Udeozor’s medical practice, for which she did not receive compensation. The Udeozors compelled the victim’s labor by inflicting verbal and physical abuse on her and accusing her of not doing her work in the way in which they had demanded. They threatened the victim with arrest and deportation if she left the home. Additionally, at sentencing the government will argue that from sometime after the fall of 1997 when the victim was just 15 years old, until the time George Udeozor left the United States in late 1999 to return to Nigeria, George Udeozor coerced the victim to have sexual intercourse with him in the Udeozor home and threatened the victim if she told anyone what had occurred.
On Oct. 28, 2001, the victim called the police, who took her to a homeless shelter. George Udeozor was extradited from Nigeria in February 2008.
Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, 49, of Darnestown, Maryland, was convicted in November 2004 by a federal jury following a six week trial and sentenced to 87 months in prison for conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude and harboring an alien for financial gain. The jury also returned three special findings relating to sentencing, concluding that the victim was held in a condition of involuntary servitude for over one year; that the offense of harboring an illegal alien was committed during the offense of involuntary servitude; and that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was a "vulnerable victim." Her conviction and sentence was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Feb. 1, 2008.
This case was investigated jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mythili Raman of the District of Maryland, and Trial Attorney Kathleen Monaghan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.