Former U.S. Diplomat Linda Howard was accused of cruel slavery and sexual abuse of her Ethiopian housekeeper. She is believed to have paid a $3.3 million settlement to the woman who was allegedly abused.
The housekeeper, whose identity remains anonymous, was reportedly raped by Linda’s husband Russell—who has since died—multiple times for over a four-month period while she was trapped inside their home in Japan.
According to the court records, when Russell first approached the woman for sexual favors, she refused. He then “abused her brutally” and told her that if she didn’t comply she would be fired and deported.
Eventually Russell entered into the maid’s room, where he raped and “used his right hand to choke and restrain” her, according to the original report. In total, he raped the thirty-one-year-old maid more than 10 times.
Linda Howard allegedly knew about the rape and even told the maid to make sure to keep her husband happy:
The maid finally escaped in the middle of the night, wearing every article of clothing she owned. She fled to a women’s shelter in Tokyo, which reported the abuse to U.S. Embassy officials.
According to the Herald Sun, in 2012 US judge Liam O’Grady ordered Linda Howard to pay the abused woman after finding the couple liable of trafficking, sexual abuse and forced labor.
The judge said during the time:
“The harm was physical, it involved the intentional disregard for the health and safety of Mrs Doe, it was repeated – involving approximately fourteen instances of forced sexual acts, and the harm was planned with forethought and intentionally inflicted on Mrs Doe.”
Linda’s payout included $1,250,000 for emotional distress caused by sexual servitude and $44,500 for forced labor.
After the payout, Linda Howard fled to Australia. She was then brought back into court and told the Supreme Court of Victoria that she treated her maid like a daughter.
The court ordered that the housekeeper’s accusations could not be deemed as fraudulent, since Linda didn’t speak up for two years following the initial payout.