There is a chilling case out of Port St. Lucie, Florida where a couple allegedly kept a 13-year-old girl as a sex slave while home schooling her in an isolated existence. In a Christian counterpart to ISIS (which has a widespread sex slave system of captive girls), the couple reportedly taught the girl passages of the Bible that they say justified such sexual domination and abuse. Rob Johnson, 44, and his wife, Marie Johnson, 43, have been released on bail (of $60,000 each) pending trial on felony sexual assault charges.
The girl was taken into the home after the death of her mother but was allegedly told immediately that she would have to have sex with both adults and was forced to call the husband “master.” She was beaten for disobeying.
The girl finally was able to leave the home when her grandmother sent her a plane ticket.
I am surprised to see only two felony charges for sexual assault and not charges linked to the alleged imprisonment of the girl against her will. The news stories indicate that the girl was kept from the outside world but there is indication of charges related to that aspect of the alleged crime.
It is not clear what passages are cited but the Bible does discuss slavery and the right to beat and have sex with slaves. For example, Exodus 21:26-27 states “And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”
The most famous examples involved wives who could not have children:
Genesis 16:1-2: “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
Genesis 30:3-4: “And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her.”
Genesis 30:9-10: “When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son.”
Indeed, it appeared only if the slave or servant was betrothed to another that a master had to make a sacrifice for raping her:
Leviticus 19:20-22: “And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, even a ram for a trespass offering. And the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath done: and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him.”
Of course, none of this is admissible as a religious defense in a criminal trial. It could still be entered as evidence of the conditions and underlying facts of the crime. However, if admitted, I would expect an instruction from the court on such claims not being viable defenses to a crime like rape.