Police say a Ludlow couple lured vulnerable adults from Virginia to their rural Vermont home to profit from their disabilities. Prosecutors say what went on behind those closed doors is disturbing.
"There are a lot of very concerning allegations," Windsor County Prosecutor Robert Sand said.
According to court documents Krista Hudson routinely punched, kicked and choked the people she was supposed to care for, allegedly chasing one with a hammer and trying to stab another with a knife.
"It's all false and it's not fair that they have to do this," Hudson said.
Hudson pleaded not guilty to domestic assault charges and her husband, Richard Hudson, denied the fraud allegations. They paint an entirely different picture of their home life.
Reporter Jennifer Reading: Why do you want these vulnerable adults to live with you?
Krista Hudson: I have a really big heart and I don't like to see someone homeless.
She and her husband made each tenant sign a lease charging them $300 a month. According to police the tenants were not allowed to leave and if they tried to escape, Hudson sent her 12-year-old son to chase them down. Police say Krista Hudson even became the payee of one woman's Social Security checks.
"She spends her money the way she wants to spend her money. I've been her payee before and I've never stolen her money. I have no reason to," Hudson said.
The Hudsons' children describe their home life as "wild" with "a lot of fights." They say their parents had sexual relationships with some of the men and women and forced others to share beds. The kids told police they were only allowed out of their bedrooms for school, meals and chores. The adult victims say Krista Hudson routinely hit the kids with shoes and belts. Hudson says she was devastated when the state removed the three children from the house and she'll never stop fighting to get them back.
"We'll fight until the day that we die," she said. "Regardless, we'll fight for them every day. We'll never give up home. We love them with all of our hearts."
The Hudsons were allowed to leave court without bail, free to return home as long as no one lives with them.
Police say there are at least seven victims, but as their investigation continues that number could rise. And the Ludlow couple will likely face additional charges.
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