Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Guilty Verdict Reached in 1997 Kidnapping, Sexual Abuse Case

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced that Defendant Henri Michelle Piette, age 63, was found guilty by a federal jury of Kidnapping and Travel with Intent to Engage in Sexual Act with a Juvenile. The verdict was reached on Thursday June 6, 2019 following a seven-day trial. The defendant was indicted by a federal grand jury in December 2017.

Evidence presented at trial showed the defendant had kidnapped the victim from Poteau, Oklahoma in 1997 where she had been living with her mother, who had been in a relationship with the defendant. Over the course of the nearly 20 years that followed, the defendant repeatedly raped and inflicted physical and emotional abuse upon the victim. The victim gave birth to nine children, the first being born in 2000 when she was 15 years old. In July 2016 the victim was able to escape with her children to the United States Consular General Offices in Nogales, Mexico. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was notified and the investigation began.

During the trial, witnesses testified the defendant had moved with the victim and children dozens of times within the United States and Mexico. He used numerous aliases and forced the victim to use aliases and dye her hair black and wear glasses to change her appearance. He controlled the victim by violence, threats of violence, and sexual abuse against her and her children.

Assistant United States Attorneys Edward Snow and Sarah McAmis represented the United States. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office for Oklahoma’s 27th Prosecutorial District.

“The victim endured two decades of horrific abuse by the defendant. Her courage lead her to escape and rescue her children and allowed investigators and prosecutors to seek justice on her behalf. Ultimately her courage ended the defendant’s reign of terror,” said United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester. “I know this verdict cannot heal the countless wounds inflicted by the defendant. It should prevent him from ever inflicting more.”

“The FBI Oklahoma City Division, and the special agents who investigated this crime, hope that the guilty verdict delivered against Henri Piette will bring some sense of closure to those he inflicted immeasurable mental and physical abuse upon for over 20 years. By bringing Mr. Piette to justice, the victims of his heinous acts can now begin the process of healing. The FBI is honored to have been a part of this long-term investigation alongside our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.” Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven D’Antuono, FBI Oklahoma City Division

Ronald A. White, District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, presided over the trial. Sentencing will be scheduled following the completion of a presentence report.

KXMX News Staff

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