Michigan couple who coerced disabled woman into prostitution sentenced

Michael Welch and his girlfriend, Misty George, also forced the woman to live in their shed, according to police.
Michael Welch and Misty George
Michael Welch and Misty GeorgeMacomb County Sheriff's Office

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By Minyvonne Burke

A Michigan couple convicted of coercing a disabled woman into prostitution while making her live in their shed was sentenced on Thursday.

A Macomb County judge sentenced Michael Welch to five to 20 years in prison, court records show. His girlfriend, Misty George was sentenced to five years of probation, with credit for more than a year in jail.

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The victim, who was 29 years old at the time and has what authorities described as mental and physical disabilities, moved into the couple's Macomb, Michigan, home in 2017.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Office said Welch, 40, and George, 32, took advantage of the woman and created an online ad where people could pay for sexual services from her. Several men responded to the ads and paid the couple money, the department said.

Initially, the victim was allowed to live in Welch and George's home but they kicked her out and forced her to live in their shed because she could no longer pay them rent. Authorities said the couple also refused to let her use the bathroom or shower.

Once the woman was able to escape from the couple, she contacted family members who called police.

George and Welch were charged with human trafficking - forced labor and accepting earnings for prostitution. George was also charged with using a computer to commit a crime. Both pleaded guilty to the charges, court records show.

In addition to probation, George is prohibited from using the internet until she signs an internet use agreement with the Michigan Department of Corrections, must attend sex offender meetings, submit to random drug testing and attend a program for domestic violence batterers.