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Vermont man kept teenage girl captive for nine months with barking dog shock collar

The Independent logo The Independent 28/05/2016 David Usborne
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A teenage girl who was kidnapped and held against her will for nine harrowing months before being released has told her former tormentor, “I still forgive you”.

The emotional scene came in a packed Vermont courtroom as the perpetrator, Nathaniel Kibby, entered guilty pleas to seven charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, witness tampering, second-degree assault and criminal threatening. He was sentenced to forty to ninety years in prison.

“Some people might call you a monster, but I've always looked at you as human,“ she told the rapt court on Thursday. ”And I want you to know that even though life became a lot harder after that, but I still forgive you.”

The case of the girl, whose identity has not been released because she suffered sexual abuse while in captivity, made national headlines in 2013 when she first disappeared in Conway, Vermont, while walking home from school. Police in the rural northeastern state could find no trace of her in spite of an intense missing persons effort.

Details of her ordeal in captivity in the Kibby home have now surfaced in court papers. According to prosecutors, Kibby used an “anti-bark shock dog training collar” to constrain her. He also threatened her with a gun, and promised to harm her family if she attempted to escape.

The worst day possibly came when Kibby ordered the girl to write a letter to her mother giving misinformation about where she might be. When he discovered she had used her fingernails to scratch an additional message on the paper he shocked and sexually assaulted her.

Adding a strange dimension to the horror of the tale, it emerged that Kirby was also using her as a slave to assist him making forged bank notes.

The torment came to an end after police arrested a local prostitute and found she was carrying forged currency, which he had used to pay her for her services. Fearful that the police would trace the bills back to him, he apparently panicked and declared, “I have to get rid of everything, including you,” the papers said. It was July 2014.

Released, the girl managed to remember enough about where she had been to lead detectives to Kirby’s lair. He was arrested a week later.

“The level of detail this victim could remember while she was enduring just unspeakable acts was simply amazing,” prosecutor Jane Young said at the court hearing.

Kibby had originally pleaded not guilty to some 200 charges that had been filed against him, but changed his mind about facing trial earlier this month, his defense lawyer, Jesse Kirby said.

“His decision to accept responsibility was solely driven by his desire to not put [the victim], or anybody else, through the rigors and continued stress of a long and drawn-out trial,” Mr Kibby's lawyer said in a statement.

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