Man Who Held Stepdaughter Captive for 20 Years Sentenced to Life

Feb 27, 2020

Credit File photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man convicted of kidnapping and holding his stepdaughter captive for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to life in prison.

Henri Michelle Piette was sentenced Tuesday for kidnapping and traveling with intent to engage in sexual acts with a juvenile, Tulsa World reported. Piette also faces a $50,000 fine and $50,067 in restitution to the victim, Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they have been sexually abused, but McGinnis has discussed her case publicly.

Piette kidnapped McGinnis from her home in eastern Oklahoma in 1997, when she was 12 and living with her mother, who had been in a relationship with Piette. He held her captive for nearly 20 years in Mexico, repeatedly raped and abused her — fathering her nine children, the first when she was 15, according to court documents.

FBI agent Adam Reynolds wrote in an affidavit that Piette changed McGinnis’ name, as well as his own, “numerous times in an attempt to stay hidden.” They traveled throughout the U.S. and Mexico but occasionally returned to Oklahoma to mail letters so people would think they were still in the state.

McGinnis reportedly escaped in July 2016 with her children to the United States Consular General Offices in Nogales, Mexico.

“Life in prison is a sentence the law reserves for the most serious offenders — offenders like Henri Michelle Piette,” said U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester in a news release. “For 20 years he inflicted extreme physical and emotional abuse on the victim and her children. For 20 years she feared for her and her children’s lives.”

Piette is likely to face additional state charges in Wagoner County, according to court records and a statement from District Attorney Jack Thorp after Piette’s federal conviction.