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October 18, 2019

Mother and Daughter Sentenced in Amite Abuse Case

Raylaine Knope (43) was sentenced on Thursday (October 17, 2019) to 336 months imprisonment today in the Eastern District of Louisiana for obtaining forced, unpaid household labor and services from an adult woman with cognitive disabilities, as well as for conspiring to obtain forced labor and misprision of a felony.  Knope’s daughter, Bridget Lambert (22) was also sentenced Thursday (October 17, 2019) to 48 months imprisonment for conspiring with Knope and their other family members to obtain forced labor from the victim.

On May 20, 2019, Knope pleaded guilty and at her plea hearing admitted that, between August 13, 2015, and June 30, 2016, in Amite, Louisiana, she conspired with other family members to obtain the victim's uncompensated household labor and services through a number of means, including by force, threats of force, and physical restraint.  Knope admitted that she forced the victim to live in a locked backyard cage and to perform housework and yard work in exchange for food and water. She further admitted that she and her co-conspirators subjected the victim to routine physical abuse, threats, and verbal and psychological abuse. As examples of this abuse, the defendant admitted that she once forced the victim to eat the cremated ashes of the victim's deceased mother. Knope also admitted that she used the abuse to obtain the victim's forced labor, and that she helped another co-conspirator steal the victim's monthly federal disability benefits. 

On Sept. 27, 2018, Lambert pleaded guilty and at her plea hearing admitted that, between August 13, 2015, and June 30, 2016, in Amite, Louisiana, she conspired with other family members to obtain the victim's uncompensated household labor and services by a number of means, including by force, threats of force, and verbal and psychological abuse.  Lambert further admitted that, on one occasion, she struck the victim in the head with a wooden board, causing the victim to bleed from her head, and on another occasion held the victim's arm in place so that a fellow conspirator could punish the victim by burning her with a cigarette lighter.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Field Office in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney’s Office.  The case has been prosecuted by Trial Attorney Risa Berkower of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Assistant United States Attorney Julia Evans of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and by the Tangipahoa Parish District Attorney’s Office.

For previous related stories, click here and here and here.

More details of the crimes are contained here and here and here and here and here. 

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