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Girl says she was kept in basement prison with chains, cuffs

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    State’s exhibit 19, a photo of the site where a 13-year-old girl was chained in the basement of the Ciboros house, is displayed on a computer screen during the trial of Timothy Ciboro and son Esten Ciboro in Toledo, Ohio.

TOLEDO, Ohio >> A 14-year-old girl who says she escaped a basement where she was chained and handcuffed by two relatives who she says touched her sexually, confronted the two men in court Tuesday.

The girl, who had a comfort dog next to her on the witness stand, testified that she often was held in the basement as punishment by Timothy Ciboro and his 28-year-old son, Esten Ciboro.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges including rape, kidnapping and child endangering.

The two men are serving as their own attorneys, and questioned the girl after she described being shackled by the ankle to a support beam in the darkened room for different lengths of time.

At one point during her testimony, she told Timothy Ciboro to stop referring to himself as her dad. “You didn’t treat me like a dad,” she said to Ciboro, who is not her biological father.

“You think I like punishing you?” Ciboro responded.

“I would say the sexual touching you enjoyed,” answered the girl, who occasionally paused to pet or smile at the comfort dog, a 2-year-old golden retriever.

Prosecutors said the girl suffered both physical and mental abuse before she used a spare key to escape last summer when she was 13 years old.

Officers found leg irons in the basement along with a bucket the girl said she used as a toilet, according to a police report.

The girl, whose mother was living in Las Vegas at the time, and two other children were living with the two men.

The girl testified that she was treated more harshly than the other two.

Her punishment for wetting the bed worsened from being spanked, to being locked in a bathroom to being chained in the basement, she said.

She also said she first told police that she had not been sexually abused and only mentioned it several months later.

The father and son tried to point out that they had provided her with a home, clothes and food.

“Did your dad act like I loved you?” Timothy Ciboro said to her.

“Sometimes it seemed like that,” she said. “Normal fathers wouldn’t do sexual stuff to their kids.”

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