SOUTHLAKE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Attorneys for a North Texas couple are blasting accusations that they committed a girl into a life of forced labor.
Mohamed Toure and his wife Denise Cros-Toure are now being held in federal custody without bail after agents with the U.S. State Department arrested them Wednesday morning at their Southlake house.READ MORE: U.S.-Mexico Border Arrests During Summer Remain At Highest Level In Decades
During a news conference Friday morning, Scott Palmer, attorney for Cros-Toure said, “We believe this complaint is riddled with salacious allegations, fabrications and lies.”
A criminal complaint unsealed against the couple this week accused the couple of forcing the alleged victim to do the cleaning, cooking, laundry and yard work without paying her for 16 years.
Court documents say the couple brought the alleged victim to Texas in 2000 from Guinea at the request of her family because they wanted a better life for her.
The complaint says the girl was between five and 14 years old when she was brought here, but she is now believed to be in her 20’s.
The couple are also from Guinea, and Palmer said Mr. Toure is the son of a former President of the West African nation who was ousted in a coup in the 1980’s.READ MORE: COVID-19 Booster Shot Not Yet FDA-Authorized, But Some Not Waiting
An agent with the State Department said the alleged victim claimed she was called a “whore” and a “slave” at one point, and that when she refused to do the work, the couple “started physically abusing her.”
The agent said the woman has “…visible scars consistent with being struck by an electrical cord on her arms…” and that there is a “…visible scar and slit in her earlobe consistent with having an earring ripped from her pierced ear…”
The couple have five children ages 15 to 27 who grew up with the alleged victim.
Palmer said, “They are all devastated. They can’t believe it. They’ve read the complaint, they are completely and totally blown away that she can say these things.”
Cheryl Maynard, whose lived in the same neighborhood says she thought something wasn’t right at the house because she often saw the victim mowing the yard. “Why that one child always is what my thought was because they have boys and the boys were not out, and I thought why is the female, why just this one female all the time?”
But Palmer insisted, “She was a member of the family. There was no quid pro quo that we can establish at this point that she came to live with them in exchange for services. That is not anything we’ve been able to uncover and we don’t believe that to be the case.”MORE NEWS: North Texas School Districts Grapple With Learning Loss And Keeping Teachers, Students From Getting COVID-19
On Monday morning, a federal judge in Fort Worth will hold a detention hearing to decide whether to keep the couple detained or release them.