The Amish girls kidnapped from a New York produce stand were allegedly sexually abused by a couple who had studied rape psychology. Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, have been arrested for the Amish girls kidnapping. Vaisey published research on porn and rape prior to the alleged abduction of the little girls ages 7 and 12.
Nicole Vaisey’s attorney has portrayed the women as merely a “follower” of Stephen Howells. “She appears to have been the slave and Howells was the master,” a New York Times report on the Amish girls kidnapping said when quoting her defense attorney.
Stephen Howells and Nicole Vaisey met about a year ago online and began dating, according to The Blaze. Before the Amish girls kidnapping, neither had ever been arrested. The New York couple allegedly sexually abused the Amish sisters before setting them free on Thursday. The motivation behind the horrific crime remains unclear.
Excerpt from Syracuse/The Post Standard report on Nicole Vaisey’s college rape and porn research project:
“Nicole Vaisey was a senior psychology major at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennyslvania in 2011 when she published research about the effects of watching pornography on attitudes toward rape. Vaisey’s hypothesis was that participants who saw sexually suggestive images would blame the victims more than those who had not.”
The woman accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the Amish girls had received a $1,500 psychology research grant during her final year at Mercyhurst. “”I enjoy studying social psychology the most because I am fascinated by the way that people interact with each other and society as a whole and how they function as an individual in a group,” Vaisey said after being awarded the grant.
The Amish girls were allegedly held in Stephen Howells’s home during their captivity. As a part of the investigation officers and computer forensic specialists will review all electronic data and equipment from the home. Howells had been working in a wound care center at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center – his co-workers were reportedly stunned by his arrest.
The St. Lawrence County District Attorney does not appear to agree with the slave and master theory and has believes that Nicole Vaisey and Stephen Howells acted “willingly together” when kidnapping the Amish girls. St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells deemed the kidnapping and sexual assault of the Amish sisters as an “opportunistic crime” that sprang from a “longer-standing plan to abuse children.”
Sheriff Wells also said, “There was the definite potential that there was going to be other victims from these two. They were looking for other opportunities to victimize.”
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