Sacto 9-1-1
September 4, 2009
Cops: Husband held wife captive, sexually abused her

MPO.jpgFrom Kim Minugh

kminugh@sacbee.com

For nearly two years, a 44-year-old Lodi woman was allegedly held captive by her abusive husband, never telling authorities out of fear that she would be killed, deported back to her home country of China or thrown into jail, according to Lodi police.

She had no access to cash, and no car - her husband, 60-year-old Michael Patrick O'Riley, see photo, had hidden the vehicle from her, said Lodi police Cpl. Dale Eubanks. O'Riley only gave food to his wife, whom he met on the Internet and married in China, when she behaved herself - and only enough, it seems, to sustain her, Eubanks said.

The woman apparently reached her breaking point Thursday and called 911 as O'Riley started piling his nine guns into his car, according to police. As officers arrived to the home on West Lodi Avenue, she ran to one of the patrol cars and dove into an open window, crying for help, Eubanks said.

Police arrested O'Riley, a counselor at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Sacramento County, and booked him into the Lodi Police Department jail on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment, various crimes of a sexual nature, terrorist threats, spousal battery and failure to provide for a spouse, Eubanks said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned today in San Joaquin Superior Court.

Police also seized his nine guns - both hand guns and rifles that Eubanks said are legal, but were confiscated because of the nature of the allegations. They also seized $23,000 in cash.

Eubanks said O'Riley met the woman over the Internet and traveled to China to marry her four years ago. They lived there for some time before returning to the United States, and had been living in a Lodi store front converted into a residence for roughly the last year and 10 months, Eubanks said.

That's when the woman said the alleged abuse began. It's unclear what exactly triggered it, though Eubanks said it appears to involve O'Riley's "sexual appetite."

He said sex seems to be the "nexus" of the abuse. The woman told police that she was forced to perform sexual acts against her will, Eubanks said.

Police have not found anyone who had been aware of the situation, Eubanks said. The woman has no family in the county, and didn't appear to have friends either, he said.

Eubanks said the woman is in the United States legally, but that she likely believed O'Riley's threats that if she called authorities, she'd be imprisoned or deported. And because of cultural differences, she might also have feared the police, or worried that they would not believe her, Eubanks said.

"She's all alone in the county and relying on him. Between his alleged abuse and what he's been doing to her ... she felt kind of isolated and felt kind of hopeless," Eubanks said. "She didn't know what she could do."

The woman had no visible physical injuries when police arrived Thursday, Eubanks said, though she complained of pain.

She is being looked after in a safe, though undisclosed, place, Eubanks said. She reportedly is doing well, he said.

Kim Minugh can be reached (916) 321-1038

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