PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Perry County woman has admitted to allowing her boyfriend to force her children to work instead of going to school, under threat of severe punishment.
Officials said 33-year-old Tiffany Walsh pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in London to one count of forced labor.
In her plea agreement, Walsh admitted to allowing her boyfriend to force her four children to go door-to-door six hours a day selling cancer awareness bracelets and other items they made or performing odd jobs.
The boyfriend is not identified in the court papers and it was not immediately clear if he was in custody.
Walsh further admitted that if the children failed to meet daily sales quotas they were punished by being forced to do excessive physical exercises or to eat condiments that made them sick.
The children also were sprayed with bleach and beaten with a wooden rod, records say.
Walsh’s boyfriend allegedly kept the money the children earned and used it to buy lottery tickets, cigarettes and take-out food.
Officials said the scheme fell apart when one of the doors the children knocked on turned out to be a children’s advocacy center.
The children currently range in age from 12 to 15.
Walsh now faces up to 20 years in prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 17.