Milwaukee man charged with beating teen daughters, human trafficking

Date: 2012-05-02

Milwaukee man charged with beating teen daughters, human trafficking
By Keller Russell
CREATED MAY. 2, 2012

MILWAUKEE - A man from Milwaukee faces charges of human trafficking and beating two teenage girls.

The father has been accused of whipping his daughter and a relative he recently adopted from Ghana, with wires and electric cords.

Court documents detail the disturbing allegations of child abuse inside a motorcycle shop on Milwaukee's south side.

The owner of PL Motorcycle Shop, Paul Lavoe, was arrested on two counts of human trafficking and multiple other felonies.

Court documents allege Lavoe had been beating his 14 year old daughter during the last year, leaving marks on her arms and the back of her legs.

The most recent case was on April 16th of this year.

The teenager told investigators she was hit at least 20 times. In the past she said she has been whipped with her clothes off.

The teenager described the abuse saying her dad "had her lay down on the floor and whipped her with wire" after he got mad at her because the ink in her pen ran out after "two years of use for her homework and from writing in her journal." The journal writing was used for punishment.

She said when he's hit her in the past, he's used whatever items he could find in his shop.

A doctor who evaluated one of the teens calls it an "extremely violent assault".

Lavoe and his biological daughter are also from Ghana.

His wife, Amanda Lavoe, also faces charges of watching the abuse happen and benefiting from human trafficking.

The cousin adopted from Ghana said she came to the United States for a better education. For her first few months here, she told investigator things were fine. But then the couple pulled her from high school and enrolled her in virtual school, along with the other teen.

They said they fall behind with school though because every weekday they are at the shop taking care of the couple's three younger children while the parents work.

The girls said they're forced to get up at 6:00 a.m. every morning, do 100 push-ups, jumping jacks and squats before they start the day. Then, the 14-year-old packs the family lunches while the other girl feeds the younger children.

TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Keller Russell went to the Lavoe's shop for their side of the story.

Paul was there but wouldn't come close to the front door.

Keller: "I'm working on a story tonight and I want to be able to give your side of the story on what was going on."

Paul: "Well you're going to have to talk to my lawyer."

Keller: "What do you make of this the fact that you're charged with human trafficking?"

Paul: "I don't know. I have no idea."

Keller: "You what?"

Paul: "I have no idea what is going on. I was just down here and then they came and got my kids. I don't know what was going on."

When pressed further Lavoe shut the door in her face.

But, according to court documents, Lavoe admitted to whipping his biological daughter, stating he'd been having disciplining problems with her and that she had been stealing pens. He went on to tell investigators he whips the girl about once a month or once every two months and has been doing so for about three years.

Russell spoke with someone else who knows the family well.

That woman didn't want us to identify her but tells me she's not surprised by the charges.

Keller: Have you personally seen him whip her?

Woman: "Yes, once in the shop and the other in the basement I didn't see it but I heard it."

Both Paul and Amanda Lavoe were out of jail as of Tuesday evening.

Paul is out on $40,000 bail and as a condition, he had to turn in his passport.

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