Autism community outraged after deputies say Autistic woman locked in cage

Autism community outraged after deputies say Autistic woman locked in cage

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WVUE) - The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff says he expects more charges against five people accused of locking an autistic woman in a cage and forcing her to perform sex acts. Meanwhile, the Autism community is outraged by the case.

The President of the National non-profit, Autism Society, didn't mince words when talking about what recently happened in Amite.

"One would hope that if they go through the court system, which I know they will, and, if they're found guilty, someone put them in a cell and let them live in a cage for the rest of their life," said Autism Society President and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Badesch.

Five people now face charges of human trafficking and cruelty to the infirm after deputies say they found a 22-year-old Autistic woman living in a cage. Investigators say the victim was locked in the cage without electricity or running water and was forced to perform sex acts. The case is so horrific it brought the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff to tears.

"To live in these conditions anywhere in the world is unacceptable, in the United States of America, is unimaginable," said Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff, Daniel Edwards.

While the Autism Society President doesn't know the exact details of the case, he says the victim faces a long road to recovery.

"You have to regain that trust and you know regaining trust of any person who is abused, let alone Autism, is a nightmare and it takes a long time," said Badesch.

Deputies say they found the victim after getting a tip. The Louisiana Coalition Against Human Trafficking says if you see something suspicious it's always best to report it.

"That's the lesson, is that you never really know and you can't ever assume, when your gut says something is awry it's worth at least making a phone call to your local law enforcement and saying this is the situation and let them make the call," said Beth Salcedo with the Louisiana Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Now, many who have been outraged by this case, are hoping the victim will get the help she needs.

"My prayers and I know the prayers of everyone are out there," said Badesch.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says the victim is in the care of the Louisiana Department of Health. Four children were also removed from the home and placed in the state's custody.

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