Kidnap Suspects Were In 'Master-Slave' Relationship

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The two suspects in last week's kidnapping of two Amish girls were in a 'master-slave' relationship, the lawyer for one of the suspects confirmed for 7 News Sunday.

Brad Riendeau of Watertown said Nicole Vaisey was in an abusive and submissive relationship with Stephen Howells II.

She did not take the lead in the kidnapping and was "under his control for a long period of time," Riendeau said.

Riendeau's comments, first reported  in the New York Times, explain why Riendeau filed for an "order of protection" on Vaisey's behalf against Howells Friday night, when the pair was arrested. 

"You've heard of '50 Shades of Grey?'" he said Sunday. "This (referring to the relationship the pair had) was the 51st 'Shade of Grey.'"

Riendeau said Howells set up a camera to record things he did with Vaisey. He also said the home contained various items associated with sado-masochistic sex, including handcuffs and canes.

The St. Lawrence County Conflict Defender's office represented Howells at Friday night's arraignment, but a lawyer with the office declined to comment to the newspaper.

Howells and Vaisey were charged late Friday night with first degree kidnapping, accused of kidnapping the two girls, ages 12 and 7. The girls were taken from a vegetable stand in front of the family home near Heuvelton, but then released near Richville Thursday night.

Officials said Howells and Vaisey intended to physically harm and violate the children, and Saturday night, St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain said the girls were sexually abused.

Reindeau said Sunday he knew nothing about whether his client was present when the sexual abuse allegedly took place, or whether Howells made any recordings.

Riendeau said Vaisey graduated from Colton-Pierrepont school, grew up in Madrid, and has a college degree from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Asked if Vaisey was voluntarily in the relationship with Howells, Riendeau said "That's a complicated question." He described her as a young woman in need of affection.

Riendeau said Howells has three children, but those children were not at the county route 21 home at the time the kidnapping was going on. He said they were dropped off at their mother's house before the alleged crime Wednesday.

Thursday, December 18, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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