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Posted on: November 30, 2023

Charges Filed in Defiance Incident

November 30, 2023

St. Charles County, Missouri - The Office of Prosecuting Attorney Joseph G. McCulloch announces the filing of charges against 3 individuals, Venkutesh Sattaru 35, Nikhil Penmatsa 27, and Sravan Penumetcha 23, charging them with Trafficking for Purposes of Slavery/Involuntary Servitude/Peonage or Forced Labor, Contributing to Human Trafficking-Misuse of Documentation, Accessory Domestic Assault 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Kidnapping and Abuse Through Forced Labor.

These charges arise after our victim, a male, 20, came to this country on a student visa with the promise of an education only to be held captive in the basement of several homes owned by Sattaru in O’Fallon, Dardenne Prairie and Defiance. Officers received a call to do a welfare check on an individual at the Defiance address. Upon arrival they were unsuccessful in making contact with our victim. But after a few minutes the victim was able to run out the front door screaming for help. 

During the investigation it was learned the victim was held in the basement of these residences and forced to work at Sattaru’s company in addition to other menial tasks. When he did not complete the tasks, or not to the defendants’ satisfaction, they would beat him with their fists, kick him, stomp on him and whip him with electrical wire, sometimes to the point he would lose consciousness. He was sleep deprived and starved as well.

Our victim is currently hospitalized with multiple fractures to his hands, fingers, feet, arms, nose and ribs in various stages of healing. He also is being treated for open lacerations and scarring in covering his complete body. 

The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requested, and the judge agreed, to hold defendants with no bond warrant.

Media Contact: Katie Rickerson krickerson@sccmo.org 636-290-1438

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