Two convicted in 'sex slave' case
Separate juries find Setty and Bennett both guilty; sentencing set for July 12
June 30, 2010 - By Laura Colvin and Megan Collier
Two men accused of repeatedly beating and raping a 52-year-old Orion Township woman held captive in their Lake Orion home for nearly two months were convicted in 6th Circuit Court Friday.
Jurors found Frank Bennett, 48, guilty of four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and not guilty on the fifth count. Leon Setty, 54, was found guilty as charged on four counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
While defense attorneys questioned the woman's credibility -- she was characterized as a "vulnerable adult" operating at the emotional level of a young teenager -- Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh said she spent around 10 days in the hospital recovering from injuries she received at the hands of Setty and Bennett.
"Some of the wounds were very vicious," Narsh said. "She had an injury on her ankle that caused a massive blood infection, and she was hospitalized twice on that."
Narsh said the victim, who spent time in Haven and is now living in a group home, stopped by his office on day three of the trial.
It was the first time the two met.
"She said 'I'm not a liar and I hate that they keep saying that I lied. I'm not lying," said Narsh. "Through this entire trial, she's been labeled a liar, a nut, a freak. You're abused and then you're abused again. Her biggest complaint was, 'How come they say those things? It's just not fair.'"
She was rescued in early November by Paul Martin and Tamera Hanson, who helped the woman escape the home, located in the 300 block of Bellevue.
"How do you wash it all away when you're 10 to 12 years old emotionally, mentally? It's a nightmare," Narsh said.
Setty and Bennett, both long-time Lake Orion residents, were arraigned Nov. 11 on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct.
The witnesses who assisted with the escape told police both men made "very crude statements" indicating the woman, who allegedly hired on as a live-in housekeeper for the men in mid-September, was "their sex slave."
"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.
Bennett 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."
Setty was represented by attorney Daniel Hilf. His jury reached a verdict early Friday, while Bennett's jury remained out until late afternoon. Sentencing for both men is set for July 12. A representative of Bennett's family answered the phone at a home on Bellevue, but said the family did not wish to comment at this time.