Ohio Legislature To Vote On Bill That Would Compensate Ariel Castro Victims

A bill that would reimburse the victims of Cleveland rapist and kidnapper Ariel Castro is closer to becoming law when the Ohio legislature votes this week.

If the bill is voted into law, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the three women held captive, abused and raped for nearly a decade by Castro would receive $25,000 for each year they were imprisoned.

Under the law, Knight would receive $275,000, Ms Berry $250,000 and Ms DeJesus $225,000. The money would come from the Ohio Court of Claims' victims of crime fund, according to the Daily Mail.

The law would also call for Cleveland State University to offer five years schooling plus room and board, all free of charge. They would also receive a federal waiver to present the victims with Medicaid for life.

A fund asking for private donations that was created after the captives were released has collected $1.4 million from more than 10,000 donors, Reuters reports.

Castro was found dead with his pants and underwear around his ankles in his prison cell a month after he was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years without parole.

Initially thought of as a suicide, a prison report released the same week challenged whether Castro had not killed himself by accident trying to give himself sexual pleasure from auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Cheryl Grossman, one of the bill's sponsors, told Reuters that the bill applies only to survivors held for eight or more years.

The Ohio Victims of Crime fund, which is funded by OVI reinstatement and court fees and a federal victims compensation program, has a balance of $26 million dollars, Grossman said.

After the bill has been passed in both legislative houses, sponsors of the bill would like to rename it after Knight, Berry and DeJesus.


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