US man charged with rape, kidnapping in Cleveland horror

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CLEVELAND: United States prosecutors charged a 52-year-old ex-bus driver on Wednesday with the kidnap and rape of three young women imprisoned at his Cleveland home in a nightmare that lasted more than a decade.

One of the captives gave birth to a daughter during the decade they spent confined in Ariel Castro’s modest city home, unable to escape until Monday, when the young mother, Amanda Berry, managed to signal to a neighbor.

Two of the Ohio women were joyously reunited with their families on Wednesday, while the third received treatment and police interrogated their alleged captor.

Castro is accused of raping 27-year-old Berry, 23-year-old Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, 32, city prosecutor Victor Perez said.

He also faces four counts of kidnapping, related to the three women and Berry’s six-year-old daughter Jocelyn, who was born in captivity.

Castro is due in court on Thursday for arraignment. His two brothers are also scheduled to make a court appearance, but on misdemeanor charges unrelated to the kidnappings and rapes, authorities said.

The women are believed to have only been allowed to leave the home briefly on two occasions, both times to go into the house’s garage “in disguise,’’ Deputy Police chief Ed Tomba told reporters.

“They were in that home. They don’t believe they’ve been outside of the home for the last 10 years,” he said. “They were not in one room, but they did know each other and they did know each other was there.”

He refused to comment on reports that Castro had impregnated Knight at least five times and would punch her in the stomach until she miscarried each time.

Castro’s two brothers—Pedro, 54, and Onil, 50—were also detained on Monday because they were with Ariel when he was arrested, but will not be charged in connection with the kidnapping.

AFP

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