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Couple Charged With Slavery

August 6, 1985 GMT

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A couple accused of forcing their maids into involuntary servitude were being held without bail following arraignment on charges they conspired to violate federal peonage and slavery laws.

U.S. Magistrate Roger McKee ordered Kenneth Kimes, 67, and his wife, Sante Kimes, 41, held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center until their transfer to Las Vegas, Nev., where a criminal complaint was issued last Friday.

The FBI announced the couple’s arrest on Monday. According to Gary Penrith, special agent in charge of the FBI in San Diego, the two were taken into custody Saturday at their La Jolla home.

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The Kimes also maintain residences in Las Vegas, Anaheim, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., and Cancun, Mexico, Penrith said.

According to Penrith, the criminal complaint accused the couple of beating and imprisoning a cleaning woman who traveled to Hawaii with them. The woman alleged she was not allowed to use a telephone or write to anyone and was never paid for her services.

Penrith said another domestic worker reported being burned with an iron, deprived of personal papers, and not paid for her work.

A third domestic employee alleged she was held at the Kimes residence against her will, was not allowed to communicate with anyone, was not paid and was physically abused.

Penrith said that employee was located and freed July 12 from a Las Vegas house the Kimes kept.

A fourth person, who disappeared in June from Santa Ana, told a relative on July 31 she was working long hours but was not being paid, was not allowed to talk to people outside the residence or use the telephone, and was not allowed to leave the residence, according to the FBI.

That woman was freed following the couple’s arrest and has been reunited with family members, Penrith said.

Conviction on the slavery charges could bring a penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, he said.