PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A second Ukrainian woman has now testified in federal court in Philadelphia that she was beaten and raped by a man charged with human trafficking.
During today’s horrific testimony the judge, without explanation, took the extraordinary step of putting the audio record of her testimony under seal, so it can not be released.
The young woman testified that she was looking for a better life for herself, her husband, and their seven-year-old daughter back in Ukraine.
Initially, she says, she thought she would be brought here legally, for a fee. But the scheme was illegal, and her dream became a nightmare.
She says she was berated, threatened, and beaten from the beginning, was forced to work 15- to 20-hour days. And later, she says, defendant Omelyan Botsvynyuk raped her repeatedly, one time leaving her bleeding for months and not permitted to seek medical help.
Another time, she says, she was gang-raped by Botsvynyuk and two other men.
The defense has challenged her on some details and suggested that she had opportunities to escape.
But the woman has told he jury she was afraid — for herself, and for her family back in Ukraine — and she endured all of this for about 16 months before she finally fled.
Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio 1060