The three Ohio kidnap victims who Ariel Castro imprisoned for a decade could receive reparations from the State of Ohio if a new bill passes – to the tune of $25,000 for each year held captive.
The bill took the first step in becoming law Wednesday when it made it through a committee in the Ohio House of Representatives, according to USA Today.
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The legislation, House Bill 197, would allow the three women to receive annual state checks of $25,000 for each year they were imprisoned by Castro, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Knight would receive a total of $275,000, Berry $250,000 and DeJesus $225,000.
The payments would come from the Ohio Court of Claims' victims of crime fund.
Castro pleaded guilty to kidnapping, beating and raping Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight for about 10 years. Castro died last month after corrections officers found him hanging in his cell.
The bill has bipartisan support. It is co-sponsored by Cleveland Democratic State Rep. John Barnes and Grove City Republican State Rep. Cheryl Grossman.
"We are merely trying to restore what they lost as a result of their involuntary servitude," Barnes told the Plain Dealer.
Grossman added that the state would seek a federal waiver to grant the three women Medicaid coverage for life.
The bill is unique in the history of the Ohio state government.
State Rep. Matt Lynch said Ohio paid 600 claims, at an average of $2,714 each in 2012, and the bill for Castro's victims would give them vastly more in total compensation.
"I don’t know how to evaluate one victim versus another," Lynch said. "They’re all deserving of our support. It strikes me as somehow improper to single out particular victims."
Lynch donated to the Cleveland Courage Fund, which has raised more than $1.2 million for the three women. He said he worries that the bill could send a message.
Grossman will continue to push the legislation.
"I don’t know how you ever make up for the time they’ve lost in their lives," Grossman told the Columbus Dispatch.
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