BY VANESSA BLUM South Florida Sun-Sentinel
FORT LAUDERDALE - A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a South Florida woman to seven years and three months in prison for keeping a teenage girl from Haiti in servitude for six years.Maude Paulin, 52, a former Miami-Dade County middle school teacher, was convicted in March along with her mother, Evelyn Theodore, of conspiring to enslave the girl, forcing her to work and harboring an illegal immigrant.Before being sentenced, Paulin apologized to U.S. District Judge Jose Gonzalez Jr., saying she had good intentions when she arranged to bring Simone Celestin from Haiti to live with her family."I love Simone with all my heart," Paulin said. "Unfortunately, I can't change what is already done."
Friends, relatives and former students crowded the benches behind Paulin and cried as she spoke. Celestin, 22, who testified at trial that Paulin forced her to sleep on the floor and work 15 hours a day, sat quietly in the back row.Prosecutor Edward Chung said Paulin had shown no remorse for "an extremely serious crime."