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Man Convicted Of Keeping Houskeeper As Virtual Slave
Al-Turki Could Spend Rest Of His Life In Prison
7:21 AM, Jun 30, 2006
A jury on Friday convicted a Saudi Arabian man of several charges stemming from allegations that he sexually assaulted an Indonesian housekeeper he kept as a virtual slave in his Aurora home for four years.Homaidan Al-Turki, 37, had faced charges of sexual assault and kidnapping. After deliberating for about a day, jurors convicted him of reduced charges of unlawful sexual contact, false imprisonment, conspiracy to commit false imprisonment, felony extortion and felony theft.Even with the charges reduced, Al-Turki could spend the rest of his life in prison. He will be sentenced on Aug. 1.About two dozen members of Al-Turki's family were in court Friday and some were so emotional after the verdict was read that they had to be carried out. Cries erupted from women and children and one man was confronted by a sheriff's deputy and ordered to leave.Al-Turki, dressed in a full-length white robe, was led away in handcuffs. He will remain in the Arapahoe County Jail until his sentencing. His attorney said he would appeal.Prosecutors and FBI agents have said the native of Saudi Arabia held a 24-year-old woman as "an invisible prisoner" at his home. But defense attorneys argued that the woman made up the stories about sexual assault in order to get out of trouble with federal authorities for overstaying her visa.Authorities also say Al-Turki and his wife brought the woman to Colorado to care for their five children, and cook and clean. However, an affidavit said the woman spent four years with the family, sleeping on a mattress on the basement floor and getting less than $2 a day. Al-Turki's lawyer said prosecutors were trying to criminalize cultural differences.The victim was arrested on immigration charges in November 2004 and placed in a safe house, and she later reported the alleged assaults to a woman who had befriended her.Al-Turki's wife, Sarah Khonaizan, 35, pleaded guilty to state and federal charges of theft and harboring an illegal immigrant and faces up to a year in prison when she is sentenced in July and August. She has agreed to return to Saudi Arabia after completing her sentences, her lawyers have said.Al-Turki also faces an October federal trial on charges of forced labor, document servitude and harboring an illegal immigrant.Al-Turki, a linguist, worked at a Denver publishing and translating company and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado. He is free on bond.