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Couple Fined, Ordered To Pay Restitution To Men Held As Slaves

January 13, 1989

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ A couple accused of enslaving two mentally retarded men for more than a decade on their dairy farm have been fined and ordered to pay the men $34,000 in restitution.

Ike and Margarethe Kozminski of Chelsea pleaded guilty in October to a reduced charge of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to maintain necessary employment records for the men.

U.S. District Judge George La Plata on Wednesday fined the Kozminskis $3,000 each and ordered them to pay restitution to Robert Fulmer, 72, and Louis Molitoris, 65.

The couple’s son, John Kozminski, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to six months in a court diversion program similar to probation. La Plata will decide whether to impose a further sentence or dismiss the charge.

The Kozminskis were indicted in 1983 on charges of holding Fulmer and Molitoris in involuntary servitude for more than a decade.

The couple was accused of not paying the workers while housing them in a trailer without utilities and feeding them moldy food. The Kozminskis allegedly denied them medical care and told them they would be arrested if they tried to leave.

A federal jury convicted the couple in 1984. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the ruling and returned the case to U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor.

U.S. Attorney Roy C. Hayes said his office reached the plea agreement with the Kozminskis because of concerns about the effect of another trial on the men. Fulmer and Molitoris were last known to be living in separate foster care homes west of Ann Arbor.

The Kozminskis declined to speak with reporters following their appearance before La Plata.

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