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Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Couple to post bond in Newton slavery case

November 24, 2004

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— A Newton couple charged in federal court with involuntary servitude will be allowed to post bond but must remain in their home and wear electronic monitoring devices, attorneys said Tuesday.

Arlan and Linda Kaufman were arrested last month and charged with a single count of involuntary servitude. The couple operate Kaufman House, a group home in Newton for adults with mental disabilities.

The charge stems from an allegation that residents of the home were forced to work in the nude at a Potwin farm in 1999.

The criminal charge is based on a law making it illegal to hold or sell another person into "any condition of involuntary servitude," which is prohibited by the 13th Amendment banning slavery. Violators can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Arlan Kaufman, 68, is a former licensed social worker. His wife, 61, a nurse whose license has been suspended, was in charge of dispensing medication at the group home.

Bond for Arlan Kaufman was set at $200,000 and $150,000 for Linda Kaufman. U.S. District Judge Sam Crow has not set a date for their next hearing.

Jim Wyrsch, attorney for the Kaufmans, said the couple posted their bond in Wichita and were expected to be released and return to Newton later Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, the couple will not be allowed to have contact with any of the former residents of Kaufman House or with the residents' families.

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