News/US: Pastor Sentenced for Smuggling Kids

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Subject: News/US: Pastor Sentenced for Smuggling Kids
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Jul 29 1999 - 10:47:19 EDT


These kids were trafficked - *not* smuggled!

Melanie.......

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Pastor Sentenced for Smuggling Kids
By Mary Pemberton
July 28, 1999

BALTIMORE (AP) -- A pastor has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for
smuggling Estonian children into this country on the promise of a Christian
education, only to force them to work 15-hour days to support her lavish
lifestyle.

``I think these kids were worked to the bone,'' U.S. District Judge Marvin
Garbis said Tuesday. ``They were cheated.''

Joyce Perdue, the 55-year-old pastor at Word of Faith Outreach ministry in
Woodbine, was ordered to pay back nearly $65,000 to the children and was
fined $25,000.

Associate pastor Robert Hendricks, 37, who handled the business end of the
operation, received two years in prison. Administrator Elizabeth Brown, 40,
was sentenced to one year in a halfway house.

The three were allowed to remain free pending an appeal.

The defendants pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to smuggle aliens and
visa fraud after Garbis forbid them from claiming that church members and
children lived and worked together as part of their Christian faith.

The children were told they would attend Calvary Chapel Christian Academy
but from 1996 to 1998 they cleaned roach-infested apartments and bookstores
and installed office furniture. Prosecutors said the children were
threatened with being sent back to Estonia if they refused.

The children, ages 14 to 17, were paid $10 to $50 a week for working in the
cleaning service.

Prosecutors said Perdue used the money to buy a $600,000 home, go on a
Mexican cruise and purchase $200 bottles of perfume.

``My intent was never to harm these very young people,'' Perdue said. ``I
can state before the court, your honor, and the God of the Christian
universe, I never remember abusing them. ... I now know it was wrong to
allow these children to work.''


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