A woman who spent 10 years toiling without pay for a Kansas City, Kan., religious group has won an $8 million judgment against the group and its leader.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree issued a 57-page ruling Wednesday, finding that Kendra Ross was the victim of human trafficking at the hands of Royall Jenkins and his group, which calls itself The Value Creators.
Crabtree, who referred to the group as a cult, found that Ross was subjected to physical and emotional abuse and years of "humiliating and degrading treatment."
The judge ruled that she was entitled to damages for pain and emotional distress. He also imposed punitive damages.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
"Here, with reckless disregard for plaintiff’s health and safety, defendants intentionally and maliciously trafficked and forced her to work in their residences and businesses for excessive hours — all with no pay or other benefits," the judge said in his ruling.
He said the group "flagrantly" violated the law and trafficked other men, women and children.
"The court thus concludes that punitive damages are necessary to punish defendants and deter them and others from trafficking their fellow human being," he wrote.
In her suit, filed last year in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., Ross said that from the time she was 11 until she left the group in 2012 after about a decade, the group, formerly known as the United Nation of Islam, forced her to work in restaurants and as a maid, cook and childcare provider in several cities, including Kansas City, Kan., Atlanta, New York and Dayton, Ohio.
Crabtree heard testimony from Ross at a hearing in February. No one representing the Value Creators attended the hearing.
And a woman who answered the phone listed on The Value Creators Facebook page said they would have no comment on Crabtree's ruling.
Jenkins, who is believed to now live in Arizona, was a member of the Nation of Islam until 1978 when he formed the separate United Nation of Islam.
According to the suit, Jenkins formed the group after “angels and/or scientists” escorted him through the galaxy on a spaceship and instructed him on how to govern earth.
Since then, he has referred to himself as “Allah on Earth,” “Allah in Person,” or “The Supreme Being.”