Man Claims Innocence After He Allegedly Abducted Former Stepdaughter at Age 12 and Fathered Her 9 Kids
Henri Piette is charged with two counts of lewd molestation and one count each of first-degree rape and child abuse by injury
“Most of it are lies,” Henri Piette, 62, told local TV station FOX23 last week after he returned to Wagoner County, Oklahoma, to faces charges of child and sexual abuse.
He has been charged with two counts of lewd molestation and one count each of first-degree rape and child abuse by injury, a Wagoner County court official tells PEOPLE.
“Ninety-nine percent [of the accusations] are lies,” he said. “I’m telling the truth.”
“They’ve been manipulated and they’re lying,” Piette told a TV reporter about his children.
About the allegations that he was sexually abusive, he said, “I never raped any children. I made love to my wife. We were married.”
But both authorities and Rosalynn McGinnis — who is the woman Piette purported to have married and his alleged captive — tell a different story.
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Earlier this year, McGinnis, now 33, went public with her ordeal in a sit-down interview with PEOPLE in which she recalled meeting Piette for the first time at 9 years old — and the decades of alleged abuse that followed.
According to McGinnis, Piette, her former stepfather, abducted her in 1991 from her Oklahoma school. Over the next 19 years, she said, Piette beat, rape, and tortured her while fathering her nine children.
Though he and McGinnis were never officially married, he “wed” her in a hillside ceremony when she was 12, she said: “He said since he had already touched me, he needed to marry me or it was a sin.”
In June 2016, McGinnis managed to flee with eight of their kids. (Her eldest child, a son, had run away before her escape; they have since been reunited.)
After her return to the U.S., the FBI began an investigation in search of Piette and he was reportedly arrested in Mexico on Oct. 5. PEOPLE first published McGinnis’ story in August.
On Wednesday, Piette appeared before a Wagoner County judge for the first time since federal authorities brought him back from Mexico.
Piette has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, according to the court official.
His attorney could not be be reached for comment. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 2.
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McGinnis now lives in an undisclosed location in the Midwest with her children, ages 2 to 17, who are receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after allegedly suffering years of abuse at the hands of their father.
“My future seems bright — a lot brighter,” she previously told PEOPLE. “Life still is hard, but it’s not near as hard as it ever was with him.”
Following news of Piette’s capture earlier this month, McGinnis said she was relieved.
“‘Relief’ is such a small word in comparison to how I feel about the capture of Henri Piette. However, it is the closest I am able to come to describing my overall demeanor at this time,” she said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
“Knowing that the man who physically took 22 years from me, leaving me with a lifetime of painful challenges, has been captured makes today one of the most pivotal times of my life.”
“My children and I suffer daily as a result of this predator’s abuse,” McGinnis continued. “Now, we look forward to continuing our newfound life of freedom and moving forward, having a lifetime of happiness and success.”