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Ohio governor honors imprisoned Cleveland women



By JULIE CARR SMYTH and ANN SANNER - Feb. 24, 2014 8:58 PM EST

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) - The three women who survived a decade-long captivity in a Cleveland house before being freed received Gov. John Kasich's annual courage awards on Monday night.

Kasich called the women's story one of hurt beyond imagination, but also a story that didn't end there.

"It is also a story of three women who found an inner strength and a courage that brought them through and sustained them," Kasich said near the end of his annual State of the State speech. "No one rescued them, they rescued themselves_first by staying strong and by sticking together, and then by literally breaking out into freedom."

The women were freed when one of them pushed her way through a door and sought help.

The presentation nearly overshadowed Kasich's speech given the women's popularity since their release. They were household names in Cleveland for years as missing persons, and their discovery electrified a community accustomed to bleaker outcomes.

Kasich hugged the women as he entered the hall before his speech and pictures of that moment quickly flew across cyberspace.

As he announced the awards, Kasich called them "three extraordinary women, who despite having the worst in this world thrown at them, rose above it and emerged not as victims, but as victors."

The women - Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight - walked onto the stage to be embraced by the governor and receive their medals. The audience stood and cheered for more than two minutes, the longest ovation of the night. It was a rare case of the trio being together following their rescue.

"Is that just unbelievable," a clearly moved Kasich said to GOP House Speaker William Batchelder and GOP Senate President Keith Faber, who were also on stage. "Wow."

The women were rescued in May after being kidnapped by Ariel Castro from the streets of Cleveland between 2002 and 2004 at the ages of 14, 16 and 20.

Castro periodically kept them chained in rooms, sometimes in the basement, and restricted access to food and toilets. He fathered a girl with one of the victims.

Castro pleaded guilty in August to hundreds of charges. He told a judge at sentencing that he suffered from addictions to sex and pornography. "I'm not a monster. I'm sick," he said.

A month later, on Sept. 3, the 53-year-old Castro hanged himself in prison at the beginning of a life sentence plus 1,000 years.

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frozenbull February 25 2014 at 3:02 PM

Monster or sick . Prison's to good for him. Who comes up with this plus 1000 years. Is that actually written in the law statute somewhere ? I don't know how these three girls made it . It amazing to say the least .

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1 reply
jeaninecornog frozenbull February 25 2014 at 3:35 PM

very

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Doug February 25 2014 at 11:10 AM

Glad Castro is not arond anymore to even have the slightest chance of being the sex slave owner he was.

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djmmit February 25 2014 at 10:41 AM

Those three angels and children of God will never be forgotten. I pray they are healing and living life to the fullest. They have suffered more than any of us can imagine. I to felt that a life sentence was to good for Castro. When I see these ladies, I cry tears of joy and hope that they are happy now. A feeling they did not have for 10 years of their life. I hope no one will ever have to go through that again. I SALUTE *** Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight ***

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bentbouy1 February 25 2014 at 10:37 AM

Why are these comment pages being filled with so much crap spam adv. money making deals. They sure edit ours

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1 reply
saultydog42 bentbouy1 February 25 2014 at 11:57 AM

OH, one more thing, this crap is getting so bad that even people that pay for AOL's services arent getting any help with it. AOL has gotten so bad with ads that my computer freezes up while downloading pages and I have t control Alt delete to get it to open back up. AOL will want to take a look at what might be causing it and they cant find it, it is AOL for it dont happen on IExplorer or chrome, its AOL advertisments thats locking it up for it takes so much time for the ads to load and it querries out. Its not my speed for I have 30 mb and can download movies in just a couple of minutes or less.

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bentbouy1 February 25 2014 at 10:35 AM

amazing girls and need all the honors they receive. They all came through this horriendous experience and its wonderful.

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hhenry5675 February 25 2014 at 10:34 AM

Yep, here we go again. This is a very nice story of these brave women that were held in captivity in the home of Ariel Castro who were finally freed. One thing that bothers me though is (it has notihing to do with these ladies being honored by Governer John Kasich), the media's attempt to keep the man who heard the call and came to these womens' rescue out of stories like this. The quoted statement by the Gov. says "No one rescued them, they rescued themselves".... I know that Mr. Charles Ramsey, for all purposes, is not an "educated" man, but the story goes on the say (forth paragraph from the end), "The women were rescued in May after being kidnapped..." Rescued by whom? I believe that person in Mr. Charles Ramsey but for some reasone, he is systematicall y being "left out of this equation". To me Mr. Charles Ramsey, Ms. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are all inextricably connected, and will be for the rest of their lives. We cannot (must not) in any way, attempt to recognize these three very brave ladies, and intentionally leave the hero who rescued them out of the picture. I can see this, and I'm just a Southern "country boy". Looks like the media and others throughout the world (including Gov. Kasich) ought to be able to see that too!

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2 replies
charliechuchu48 hhenry5675 February 25 2014 at 11:36 AM

I agree Mr. Charles Ramsey must be recognized for his part in saving these ladies....he couldn't have like many "just mind his own business" and ignored the plea for help.

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1 reply
jbraidedbeauty1 charliechuchu48 February 25 2014 at 11:48 AM

Right, and i feel thats a ignorant a-- statement to say "nobody rescued them they rescued themselves.. BULLCRAP.. just another racist white person showing their true colors... Chas Ramsey could have said ok.. i will keep eating my sandwich thats white follks business!

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biagonza1982 hhenry5675 February 25 2014 at 12:35 PM

THAT'S WHAT I SAID! THEY MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THEY JUST BUSTED OUT 1 DAY AND IF THAT WAS THE CASE, THEN WHY HADN'T THEY ESCAPED LONG LOOOOONG BEFORE THEY DID? NO COMMENDATION FOR THAT MAN- I KNOW ALL THEIR NAMES, BUT CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME REMEMBER HIS- THEY ARE SURVIVORS YES, BUT HE IS THE HERO THAT TURNED THEM FROM PRISONERS TO SURVIVORS..HE DESERVES A PURPLE HEART!

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1 reply
biagonza1982 biagonza1982 February 25 2014 at 12:37 PM

SORRY I REPLIED TO THE WRONG PERSON-MY COMMENT WAS TO BE A REPLY TO HHENRY5675 NOT BOUYBOY OR WHTEVS

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randmhunley February 25 2014 at 10:02 AM

photo opp in an election year
thats all this was

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whcduan February 25 2014 at 9:35 AM

God be With Them. May Their Lives Have Endless Peace And love.... God Be Upon All Of us In This World.

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Paula February 25 2014 at 12:10 PM

I give these three young women alot of praise and credit for what they went thru. My gosh how would anyone handled what these women went thru? They deserve all the wonderful things in life and they deserve to be happy. These three women should be honored everywhere they go in life. As a woman myself I dont know if I could have went thru want these three women did but I can tell you all this much if anyone of them were my daughter you better beleive I would be so proud of her for be able to handle what they went thru and it would be a honor for me to call her my daughter and I would be praising GOD for helping them make it thru and bringing them all back to their families.

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1 reply
palmejn Paula February 25 2014 at 12:59 PM

Agree Paula - doubt I would be able to endure what they went thru. They are the
REAL celebrities - even though they want privacy.

It is sad, however, that the Governor did not make the effort to honor the man who responded to the cries for help. In this day and age, most would just ignore the cries and go on about their empty lives. Without his help, they would not have been on that stage.

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1 reply
pawpawx2 palmejn February 25 2014 at 1:21 PM

I agree palmejn, but it could be an honest mistake. At least the Gov. was not taking credit for'
any part himself, but just honoring the women. It would be entirely different if he tried to take
credit and then left out the guy who rescued them.

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j.koan February 25 2014 at 9:23 AM

Perhaps Rehab needs "rehab"

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