MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge has ordered six employees of a group home raided amid charges of abuse and filthy conditions to stand trial, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The five men and one woman have been charged with kidnapping for allegedly refusing to release residents and with human trafficking for purportedly forcing them to beg for money. The six also face organized crime charges, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.
The office has also ordered the property that housed the Great Family group home to be seized, it said.
Federal prosecutors said this week that they wouldn't charge the home's owner and founder, Rosa Verduzco, known as "Mama Rosa," with any wrongdoing because she is not mentally fit.
The shelter was raided by police on July 15 and officers found about 600 children and adults living at the filthy, trash-strewn compound.
Residents of the shelter told authorities that some employees beat and raped residents, fed them rotting food or locked them in a tiny "punishment" room.
In an interview with Univision television network this week, Verduzco, 79, denied that there was a punishment cell or that rotten food was served at the shelter in Zamora, in the western state of Michoacan. She said a small, barred room was an infirmary used to hold sick residents so they wouldn't walk around.
Verduzco, once revered for her work in taking in orphan children for almost 65 years, told the television network that in recent years the shelter started housing children with behavioral problems or from broken homes and many stayed on after reaching adulthood. Most were taken to the shelter by their parents or child welfare agencies.