BOSTON — A Massachusetts couple accused of treating their nanny as a “house slave” for 13 years have been sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay the woman $150,000.
Martha Smalanskas, 48, and her husband, Richard, 49, parents of three from the town of Harvard, were sentenced Wednesday in federal court. They must pay the restitution by Jan. 1 or face prison time.
Martha Smalanskas was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service for physically abusing the woman, whose name was not made public.
Restitution, rather than prison time for the Smalanskases, was the better option for the victim, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Kanwit, according to The Boston Globe.
The couple was initially charged with conspiracy and harboring a fugitive, but pleaded guilty in January to misdemeanor charges of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“I have not heard or seen any sign of remorse from the defendants,” Kanwit said.
The couple brought the then-teenage woman from her native Bolivia even though she was not legally allowed to stay in the U.S., prosecutors said.
She was paid less than $3,000 for the 13 years she cooked, cleaned, cared for their children, and even shoveled snow, which amounted to about 53 cents per hour, authorities said. They kept her passport and intimidated her, he said.
There are multiple witnesses who would have cast a more positive perspective on the couple’s relationship with the woman, their lawyer, Philip Cormier said in court.