Prosecutor: Couple sexually abused 2 Amish sisters

CANTON, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say the northern New York couple charged in the kidnapping of two Amish sisters were prowling for easy targets and sexually abused the girls before letting them go.

The Hermon couple have been arraigned on charges of kidnapping with the intent to physically or sexually abuse the 7-year-old and 12-year-old sisters.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Mary Rain said Saturday the girls were sexually abused, and the county sheriff said Stephen Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey may have planned to abduct other children.

Vaisey's lawyer told The New York Times that Vaisey apparently was submissive to Howell, like his "slave." There was no answer at the law office representing Howells.

Howells and Vaisey are being held without bail and have a preliminary court appearance scheduled Thursday.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.