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An Oklahoma man who kidnapped his stepdaughter when she was 12 and kept her captive for nearly two decades has been sentenced to life behind bars.
Henri Michelle Piette, 65, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Feb. 20, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced Tuesday. He was found guilty last June of both kidnapping and traveling with intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile.
A judge handed down a life sentence for the kidnapping conviction and tacked on an extra 30 years for the latter charge.
During his trial, prosecutors said he kidnapped his stepdaughter in 1997 from her Poteau, Oklahoma home where she lived. Piette was in a relationship with the victim's mother at the time. The victim, Rosalynn McGinnis, was just 12. Prior to the kidnapping, McGinnis said in a November episode of Dr. Oz. Piette orchestrated a fake wedding with her.
“Over the course of the nearly 20 years that followed [the kidnapping], the defendant repeatedly raped and inflicted additional physical and emotional abuse upon the victim,” the attorney’s office states. “The victim gave birth to nine children, the first being born in 2000 when she was 15 years old.”
During her time of captivity, Piette “used numerous aliases and forced the victim to use aliases, dye her hair, and wear glasses to change her appearance,” the press release states. “He controlled the victim by extreme violence, threats of violence, and sexual abuse against her and her children.”
“Any kind of abuse that you can think of he did to me,” she told Dr. Oz in November.
Piette repeatedly moved McGinnis and her children to different spots across the United States and Mexico. In 2016, while in Nogales, Mexico, McGinnis managed to escape. She, along with her children, went to the United States Consular General Offices to report the horrific ordeal.
Last year, Piette contended to KOKI-TV that 99 percent of the allegations made against him were false.
“I never raped any children. I made love to my wife,” he claimed. “We were married.”
McGinnis, who testified at Piette’s trial, told KSHB, “I'm just so happy that he is put away where he can't hurt anyone anymore,” following his conviction.
She is currently raising her children in the Kansas City area, according to KSHB, as her former kidnapper is preparing to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“Life in prison is a sentence the law reserves for the most serious offenders — offenders like Henri Michelle Piette. For 20 years he inflicted extreme physical and emotional abuse on the victim and her children. For 20 years she feared for her and her children’s lives,” United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester said. “The victim’s courage ended the defendant’s reign of terror. Unfortunately, the horrific memories may very well last a lifetime. It is fitting that the defendant’s sentence will also.”
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