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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.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
jaws1worley February 25 2014 at 12:39 PM

Thank God he hung himself , now we do not have to feed his sorry ass for years . Thank You JESUS !

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2 replies
mrjackpot jaws1worley February 25 2014 at 12:54 PM

I seriously doubt that Jesus had anything to do with it. More likely it was Satan calling one of his disciples home to hell.

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1 reply
ceecee mrjackpot February 25 2014 at 2:46 PM

Really? Satan rescued them> You are sad and sick.

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pawpawx2 jaws1worley February 25 2014 at 1:18 PM

Amen to that jaws.

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KT February 25 2014 at 2:20 PM

Glad that bastard is gone! Women, stay strong... you have your whole life ahead. God bless you all.

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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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mark& kim February 25 2014 at 2:40 PM

May GOD bless them and keep them, and continue to heal their souls. May their families stay strong for them and for themselves. No one will ever understand the horrors those 3 young women faced, but hopefully in time they can find peace and the mental, physical and emotional scars will somewhat fade.

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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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j.koan February 25 2014 at 9:23 AM

Perhaps Rehab needs "rehab"

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conquerfood February 25 2014 at 9:15 AM

Wondering if the city or state will pay them something for not finding them . . Is there a fund where we can contribute money to these women so they can heal without having to find work to support themselves ..

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1 reply
Fran conquerfood February 25 2014 at 9:26 AM

im sure they are being given help they need but are probably touched with paranoia and insanity.

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mamatiger919 February 25 2014 at 9:14 AM

I just have two words to say Charles Ramsey. He heard screams and he went out to help. He could have ignore it. However he is being given no thanks. That's sad. The story has now changed. It is all them. I wonder when the book or TV movie will be released. Thanks for the head up. I know how it will be written and shown, so I'll pass. I wish them luck in their new life.

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2 replies
BETTYBOOP mamatiger919 February 25 2014 at 9:39 AM

he helped yes but the story should be all about them they were the ones held prisoner and raped and abused Charles ramsey did a good did and he was rewarded for it he does not have to be mentioned everytime these girls come up I am sure they have thanked them many times but he was not the one kidnapped raped and imprisoned for ten years.

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2 replies
BETTYBOOP BETTYBOOP February 25 2014 at 9:39 AM


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jbraidedbeauty1 BETTYBOOP February 25 2014 at 11:50 AM

But to say nobody rescued them they rrescued themselves is a ignorant and a very biased comment to make!

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BETTYBOOP mamatiger919 February 25 2014 at 9:44 AM

Following the dramatic rescue of three Ohio women held captive for years, local man Charles Ramsey became a viral sensation with his spirited interview about responding to the cries for help coming from a house near his own in downtown Cleveland. But he was not the only neighbor to help free Amanda Berry and the two other women and child trapped in the house.

Angel Cordero, who lives across the street from the Seymour Avenue property where the three women were held, came forward Wednesday. According to ABC local affiliate WEWS, local police pointed out Cordero as the man who actually broke down the door of the house.

"I helped her and I was first," Cordero, who speaks only Spanish, told WEWS. He continued to describe how he arrived on the scene, crossing the street and breaking down the door so he could help the women escape. It was only after the women were outside that Ramsey arrived, Cordero said.

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1 reply
jbraidedbeauty1 BETTYBOOP February 25 2014 at 11:53 AM

And Chas Ramsey said the man Angel was standing there scared not knowing what to do and stood across the street as Ramsey knocked most of the door..he said Angel was there first but he was just standing there... so thats what i believe and thats my belief and im sticking with it.

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jvmcfla@aim.com February 25 2014 at 2:41 PM

I cannot imagine the hell they survived all those years and perhaps thinking they were never, ever going to be freed from that hell! What a complete coward Casto was... he raped, tortured, starved and deprived those three women and he kills himself in jail... I wish someone had gotten a hold of him before he killed himself and hurt him really, really bad for what he did! May the three women go on to live with as much love and happiness and normalcy as possible!

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Hello, Enrique! February 25 2014 at 11:42 AM


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