The message hiatus at the board here gave me time to type in the extracts from this local story (_Baltimore Sun_, July 28, 1999, B1, B4):

"The events leading to yesterday's action began in 1992, when organizers of the Word of Faith World Outreach church left Maryland for Estonia. . .

"After delivering Bibles and preaching for several years, church leaders returned with young Estonians under religious and student visas. They put the Estonians to work, cleaning book stores, apartments and installing office furniture.

"Three church leaders pleaded guilty in May to charges of consipiring to commit visa and immigration fraud.

"Yesterday, Pastor Joyce E. Perdue, 55, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and reimburse the Estonian immigrants $67,494 for their labors. Assistant Pastor Robert C. Hendricks, 38, was sentenced to two years in prison, and church administrator Elizabeth Brown, 40, received a one-year prison term.

"After listening to the emotional appeals, U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis said that he was dismayed that nobody in the church stepped forward to stop the exploitation of the Estonians. `I do find [that] there was lying, cheating and theft' by church leaders, Garbis said."

"Defense attorneys are appealing an earlier ruling by Garbis that limited their ability to use religion and their clients' definition of work as a defense. If they win that argument, the church leaders, who are free on bond pending their appeal, will be granted a new trial."

"By August 1998, a dozen Estonians, teen-agers and young adults, had come to the United States on student and religious visas. They had been promised intense Bible stu9dy and religious training by church leaders. Instead, they were forced to clean `roach-infested apartments,' said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg.

"That summer, agents with the Immigration and Naturalization Service received a top and questioned an Estonian girl laboring at a bookstore. The agents then raided the church's plush home on Iron Rail Court in Woodbine in western Howard County.

"Authorities had a mountain of evidence that showed church leaders established several businesses that made thousands of dollars yet paid the Estonians $10 to $100 a week depending on their jobs, which ranged from cleaning bookstores to installing office furniture."

"Among the spectators was Rita Rastas, one of the Estonians. . . `I really didn't care if [Perdue] went to prison or not,' Rastas said. `She's going to have a new experience.'"


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