A former U.S. diplomat has for the second time been found liable for enslaving and sexually trafficking a housekeeper while posted at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen.
A jury in federal court in Alexandria, Va., agreed Monday that the former envoy, Linda Howard, and her Australian husband, Russell Howard, forced an Ethiopian maid into sexual slavery in 2007, repeatedly raping her. Linda Howard was ordered to pay $3 million in damages to the now 30-year-old woman, identified only as Sarah Roe, who lives in Virginia.
Five years ago the couple were found liable in the same court for trafficking another Ethiopian housekeeper in 2008. They were ordered to pay her $3.3 million. However, the couple had already fled from Arlington, Va., to Australia and contested the judgment there. The case was settled in 2015.
Linda Howard left the State Department in 2013; her husband died in 2012. She denied the new allegations and argued that Roe could not sue for civil damages under a human trafficking law that did not pass until 2008.
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