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Child tells US court in Detroit he was slave labor

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013

The "Lord has healed my heart enough to find something good while enduring the physical, mental and emotional abuse you dealt," the boy, known only as "A.K.," wrote in his victim impact statement, which was read in court.

Two of the former children attended Toviave's sentencing, but they did not speak.

Toviave didn't apologize when he had the opportunity to speak but instead recounted traveling to Ghana in 2007 to visit his sick mother. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow gave him the maximum sentence sought by the government, 135 months in prison, with credit for about two years already served.

"I can't get a read on you," Tarnow told Toviave. "I can't tell if you understand what you did was really wrong."

After the hearing had ended, Toviave asked Tarnow if he could say something else. Tarnow said OK, but Toviave then decided against it.

The judge also ordered Toviave to pay two of the children $60,000 each and provide $7,200 apiece to two victims for counseling. But both the judge and defense lawyer Randall Roberts said it seemed unlikely Toviave would be able to come up with the money. Roberts referred to Toviave as "penniless."