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'Sex slave' case heads to trial

Two Lake Orion residents charged after holding a woman captive for months

Setty (click for larger version)
June 09, 2010 - Two men who allegedly beat and raped a 52-year-old woman they held captive in a Lake Orion home for nearly two months are headed to trial in Oakland County 6th Circuit Court this week.

Leon Jeffrey Setty, 54, and Frank Brian Bennett, 47—both long-time Lake Orion residents—were arraigned Nov. 11 on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct after a witness helped the woman escape the home, located in the 300 block of Bellevue.

The witness, a 31-year-old Lapeer man who didn't know the victim, told police both men made "crude statements" indicating the woman, who hired on as a live-in housekeeper for the men in September, was "their sex slave."

Bennett (click for larger version)
"According to the victim, the intimidation and threats began almost immediately," Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh said in November. "And then the assaults began."

According to Narsh, the victim also said she was "forced to drink and become intoxicated" on a regular basis, including the night a friend of Setty and Bennett stopped by unannounced and ultimately helped the woman escape and go to the police for help.

Originally, the men were jailed on $1 million bond each, but according to court documents, Bennett made a successful bid for bond reduction and was released March 30 after a relative posted $25,000—10 percent of the $250,000 reduced bond.

Setty, charged with four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, each a 15-year felony, remains jailed on the original $1 million bond. He has an extensive criminal history.

Bennett, who's facing five counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, petitioned the court for a separate jury.

His lawyer, Paulette Michel, among other arguments, asserted "the voluminous number of charges and differences between defendants create a high potential for jury confusion if one jury is chosen to decide both cases," and "the nature of evidence is such that it will be too difficult for jurors to separate which evidence applies to which charge and which defendant."

Judge Daniel O'Brien will preside over the trial, scheduled to begin Thursday, June 10 at 8:30 a.m.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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