Timothy and Esten Ciboro, the father and son who sexually assaulted children and kept a girl shackled in a basement, used the Bible to defend themselves during their trial this past week.
But their efforts failed Friday, when an Ohio judge sent them to prison for the rest of their lives.
“The torture, terror and sexual abuse that you inflicted on these children is disgusting,” Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Linda Jennings told the Ciboros in court. “What is additionally disgusting is the fact that you distorted the word of God for your own evil purpose.”
Before their trial started, the Ciboros made the unusual request of having access to the Bible, which they planned to cite as they defended themselves in front of a jury. Esten Ciboro called the Bible “the only law book that matters,” the Toledo Blade reported.
The father and son from Toledo were charged with multiple counts of rape, kidnapping and endangering children. They were convicted on all counts and sentenced Friday following five days of jury trial.
The men were arrested in May after the then-13-year-old girl, Timothy Ciboro’s stepdaughter, managed to unshackle herself and escape from the basement while her abusers were away. Prosecutors said the Ciboros raped the girl from 2012 to 2015. Timothy Ciboro also raped the teen’s younger sister — his own daughter — during the same period.
The girl, her younger sister and an 11-year-old boy testified during the trial. All were questioned by the Ciboros, who acted as their own attorneys.
At one point during the now-14-year-old girl’s testimony on Tuesday, she told Timothy Ciboro to stop referring to himself as her dad.
“You didn’t treat me like a dad,” she told her stepfather, according to the Associated Press.
“You think I like punishing you?” Ciboro asked.
“I would say the sexual touching you enjoyed,” she answered.
The 11-year-old boy, who also was living with the Ciboros and said Timothy Ciboro had molested him, did not mince words when he was called to testify.
When Timothy Ciboro asked him why the 14-year-old girl was shackled in the basement, he said, according to the Toledo Blade, “Because you guys felt like it.”
When he was asked whether it was true that the girl was shackled to punish her for stealing, he said, “She would steal stuff because you never fed her.”
The girl’s younger sister testified that she was forced to sleep with either her father or Esten Ciboro, her stepbrother, every night, WTOL reported. She said she was forced to perform oral sex on the two men and that her father forced her to have sex with him.
During their testimony, the victims were aided by a comfort dog, according to WTOL.
The 14-year-old girl told police that she was kept in the basement for long periods, was fed spoiled leftovers and was forced to urinate in a bucket with ammonia.
“She got dried oats, dried ramen, cold vegetables out of a can,” Jennifer Reed, an assistant county prosecutor, said during her closing arguments, according to NBC affiliate WNWO. “They put this child repeatedly, both of them, repeatedly put this child in the basement, locking her up with chains.”
Esten Ciboro told the jury during his closing arguments that there was no evidence he and his father committed the crimes and that the victims were simply fed information.
“Nor does it show that the Ciboros terrorized, jeopardized, abused or tortured the children,” he said, according to the Toledo Blade. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do the right thing. Reunite this family. End their suffering.”
Both the Ciboros were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Timothy Ciboro, who faced additional rape charges, also was sentenced to an additional 71 years. Esten Ciboro received an additional 68 years, according to media reports.