A 63-year-old man has been found guilty of raping his stepdaughter and fathering nine of her children after kidnapping her and holding her hostage for 20 years.
Henri Michelle Piette kidnapped Rosalynn McGinnis when she was 12-years-old from her home in Poteau, Oklahoma in 1997.
He held her captive for 19 years and avoided detection by traveling across Mexicoand the U.S.
McGinnis, now 34, managed to escape from Piette back in 2016 with her children while they were all living in Mexico.
Piette was convicted last week and faces life in prison after being found guilty of kidnapping and travelling with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile.
‘The victim endured two decades of horrific abuse by the defendant. Her courage led her to escape and rescue of her children and allowed investigators and prosecutors to seek justice on her behalf,’ U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester said.
‘Ultimately, her courage ended the defendant’s reign of terror. I know this verdict cannot heal the countless wounds inflicted by the defendant. It should prevent him from ever inflicting more.’
In an interview with KHSB last year, McGinnis waived her anonymity to open up about the decades-long trauma and abuse she suffered at the hands of Piette.
‘I was scared and I was so confused and didn’t even know what was happening,’ McGinnis said.
‘Looking back on what happened to me I don’t even know how any human can do that to a child – what he did to me.’
The case is reminiscent of Austrian rapist Josef Fritzl who imprisoned his own daughter in a sex dungeon in Austria where he fathered seven children with her over a 24-year period.
McGinnis was just nine years old when her mother started dating Piette. He began sexually abusing her during their relationship, she said.
In 1997, her mother broke up with Piette because he had been beating her.
He retaliated by snatching McGinnis from school with the help of his son and going on the run with his three children.
McGinnis said that before eventually taking her to Mexico they traveled throughout the U.S.
The FBI said they traveled throughout Texas, Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico over the two decades.
She claims he introduced her to his children as their ‘new mother’.
When she was 11, she said she was forced to ‘marry’ Piette in the back of a van in an illegal ceremony that was performed by one of his own children – a boy who was just 15 at the time.
McGinnis told People TV that she gave birth to her first child aged 15 and went on to have a further eight children with her captor.
In Mexico, she said she was subjected to daily sexual assault or rape and had nine children as a result.
Piette changed their names and made McGinnis cut and dye her hair to avoid being detected.
He even went as far as coming back to Oklahoma and forcing her to ‘mail letters just so people would believe’ she was still living in the state as authorities were searching for her.
McGinnis said she was forced to beg on the streets for food to feed the family because Piette squandered any money they collected on alcohol and drugs.
She said Piette would frequently beat her with an assault rifle, baseball bat, wooden boards and beer bottles.
He also shot her several times and she suffered multiple broken bones, according to McGinnis.
She claims they lived under the radar and that no one in Mexico suspected him of wrongdoing until she confided in a woman who lived near their tent in 2016.
That woman eventually found a missing person’s poster from 1997 with McGinnis’ name on it.
In June 2016, McGinnis fled their filthy tent with eight of the nine children she had with Piette and used a pay phone in Oaxaca City to contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Her eldest son had already fled back to the U.S. by this stage.
McGinnis was put in touch with the U.S. Embassy so they could leave Mexico.
Piette was eventually arrested in Mexico in 2017 when he went to the U.S. embassy to obtain a new passport. He was extradited back to Oklahoma to face charges.
A federal grand jury indicted him in December 2017.
A defiant Piette denied ever raping his stepdaughter in an interview with Fox 23 following his arrest.
’99 per cent are lies….I’m telling the truth,’ he said at the time. ‘I never raped any children. I made love to my wife. We were married.’
He also accused McGinnis and his children of spreading lies about him.