DOJ: South Carolina restaurant owner enslaved mentally disbaled cook for 5 years

Bobby Paul Edwards, 52, is charged with forced labor after he allegedly "used force, threats of force, physical restraint and coercion" to get 39-year-old John Christopher Smith to work at J&J Cafeteria in Conway.

"Our client is very appreciative of the efforts put forth by the US government in its investigation", David Aylor, an attorney for Smith, told the Post and Courier Wednesday. If found guilty, he could serve up to 20 years in prison, be fined up to $250,000 and be forced to pay restitution to Smith.

That didn't stop him working at J&J Cafeteria, a resturant in Conway, S.C. the 37-year-old began working at the establishment at 12, by washing dishes, busing tables rising to the chef duties. He says he had no issues until Edwards became manager, after that his life became horrific.

Smith, 39, alleged that he was forced to work up to 18-hour shifts nearly seven days a week. Some days he would leave so exhausted and weak he had to be carried home and "physically fed drink and food".

Smith's case reached headlines in 2015 when he sued Edwards for the enslavement. He said the manager would call him racial slurs, and threaten to "stomp" his throat and beat him "until people would not recognize him". It wasn't until 2010 that Bobby Paul Edwards landed the position as a manager and Smith's job took a turn for the worst.

Smith was beaten with a belt, choked, slapped, punched and burned with tongs used in hot grease, according to court documents. He filed a federal lawsuit in 2015 against Edwards and the restaurant owner, saying he wasn't paid or given time off or benefits. Smith's attorneys described the conditions there as "sub-human", "deplorable" and "harmful to human health".

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Smith, who claims to have scars on his neck to prove some of the alleged abuse, said he never told anyone out of fears for his safety. The lawsuit remains unresolved, but Smith's attorney is hopeful for a conviction.

The combination of threats and actual abuse made Smith so afraid, the lawsuit said, "that he felt coming forward would be fruitless" and bring about "more aggravated abuse or even death".

Caines s believed to have reported the abuse to authorities in October 2014, prompting social workers to check on Smith.

Asked what outcome he hopes for in the case, Smith told WMBF, "I want him to go to prison".

A white eatery administrator in SC has been arraigned for professedly oppressing a dark specialist with advancement delays for a long time and utilizing physical manhandle to constrain him to act as a smorgasbord cook.

At the time of the lawsuit, Smith's lawyers said: 'The conduct in this case is as troubling as anything I h ave seen in nearly 20 years of practicing law, attorney W. Mullins McLeod Jr. said.

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