Restaurant manager beat black employee for years and forced him to work without pay

(CNN) For a long time, John Christopher Smith suffered alone as his manager at a Sc restaurant physically abused him plus forced him to work over hundred hours a week without pay, government officials say.

This week, Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of compelled labor in the incidents, which apparently happened when he managed the particular restaurant between 2009 and 2014.
Professionals said Smith had intellectual afflictions, and was afraid of losing their job. At times, Edwards, who’s white-colored, would burn Smith’s bare throat with hot tongs to make your pet work faster, federal authorities stated. Other times, he’d allegedly beat your pet with a belt and punch your pet with his fists.

“Human trafficking through pushed labor can happen on farms, within homes, and as today’s case displays — in public places, such as restaurants, inch Acting Assistant Attorney General Sara Gore said Tuesday.

“Edwards mistreated an African-American man with mental disabilities by coercing him to operate long hours in a restaurant without pay out. Combating human trafficking by pressured labor is one of the highest priorities of the Justice Department. ”
Edwards admitted to making use of “violence, threats, isolation and intimidation” to force Smith to work regardless of the ill treatment, officials said.

‘I wanted to get out of there’

In an job interview last year with CNN affiliate WPDE, Smith said Edwards in physical form abused him for years and pressured him to live in a room at the rear of the restaurant, keeping him far from his relatives. When Smith’s household came to the restaurant, the supervisor would force him to stay in your kitchen, he said.
“I wanted to get out of right now there a long time ago. But I didn’t possess nobody I could go to, ” he or she told the affiliate. ” I actually couldn’t go anywhere. I could not see none of my family. ”
Smith said using the busing tables and washing meals at the restaurant when he has been 12, but the alleged incidents began when Edwards took over as manager.
In Oct 2014, a frequent customer observed the scars on his body whenever he was putting food lower and called authorities, who taken out Smith from the restaurant, the affiliate marketer said. The victim is about 4 decades now.
The NAACP office in Conway pushed for tougher charges following a local court accused Edwards associated with assault, a misdemeanor, CNN affiliate WMBF reported.
“We are talking about enslavement right here, ” Abdullah Mustafa, president from the local chapter of the NAACP, stated at the time. The organization was instrumental in assisting file complaints with the Justice plus Labor departments.
“This defendant abused the vulnerable victim, and today’s responsible plea holds the defendant accountable for his criminal acts, ” mentioned Sherri Lydon, the United States attorney for your District of South Carolina.
Edwards faces as much as 20 years in prison when he is sentenced, a $250, 000 optimum fine, and mandatory restitution towards the victim. It’s unclear when he can be sentenced.