- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A prosecutor says a central Ohio couple created a false identity online and began romantic relationships with three women to lure them into servitude, after which the women were sexually assaulted.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said the couple undertook the scheme to satisfy their sexual, financial and emotional needs.

The indictment announced Friday charges 32-year-old Thomas Williamson and 29-year-old Michelle Feldman with trafficking in persons, extortion, sexual battery, grand theft, theft and felonious assault.

O’Brien said the alleged trafficking happened from April 2013 through March at the couple’s home in Reynoldsburg in suburban Columbus.

“It’s as strange and weird as I have seen,” O’Brien said.

Court records don’t list an attorney for the couple. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Investigators say the women were attracted by the prospect of romance with a military man, who wasn’t real.

“He (Williamson) was luring these two women in, making it sound like they were going to have a romantic relationship with this soldier that was not around or not in the country at the time. He lured them to the house, saying that he was a friend of the soldier,” said Reynoldsburg Police Lieutenant Ron Wright.

Police said there were sexual assaults and other acts that were videotaped, and the couple used the video and photos to blackmail and the women.

One woman contacted police in March, asking for help getting her belongings from Williamson’s home. She said she and another woman were being held there, forced to ask permission to eat, shower, or leave.

Investigation is continuing. Authorities say the Reynoldsburg police and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force have found evidence of a possible fourth victim.

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