South Carolina restaurant employee John Christopher Smith suffered in silence for years at the hands of his manager Bobby Paul Edwards.
According to CNN, Edwards physically tortured and abused Smith, forcing him to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, and live in a room behind the restaurant.
Among the abuse were beatings with belts, pots, and pans, as well as the manager’s use of racial slurs to ”belittle and demean him.” Edwards would also burn Smith’s bare neck with hot tongs to make him work faster, according to authorities.
Federal officials state Smith has intellectual disabilities and was afraid, so he tolerated the cruel and unusual punishment.
The abuse reportedly began back in 2009 after Edwards took over as manager at J&J Cafeteria, NBC reports. But in 2014, a resident reported the abuse, and Smith was removed and placed in the state’s care.
In June 2018, according to the publication, Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay Smith more than $250k in restitution.