Also Wednesday, lawmakers in Columbus briefly addressed a bill that would provide the women years of relief payments, college tuition and medical assistance.
The chairman of the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, told the group the measure is a “work in progress.” The Napoleon Republican said legislators have been in contact with the state’s attorney general’s office and higher education leaders to develop the bill.
The proposal would provide the women with a minimum of $25,000 annually in reparations for the years they were held captive. They would also receive tuition, fees and living expenses at a public college.
The bill also requires pursuit of a federal waiver for the women — or anyone restrained or held in “involuntary servitude” for at least eight years — in order to collect lifetime government medical assistance.
Castro, who has pleaded not guilty, was indicted on 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault and one count of possession of criminal tools.
The indictment alleges Castro held the women captive, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. It says one of the women tried to escape and he assaulted her with a vacuum cord around her neck.
The indictment covers the period from August 2002, when the first of the women disappeared, to February 2007.
More charges are possible. McGinty told the judge that additional evidence would be presented to a grand jury over the next few weeks.
Castro has been held on $8 million bail.
He was arrested shortly after one of the women broke through a door and yelled to neighbors for help.