California man jailed 31 years for keeping teen girl captive

A man has been sentenced to 31 years jail for imprisoning a teenage girl in a metal box at his Northern California marijuana farm.
Ryan Patrick Balletto is one of two men charged with holding the 15-year-old captive and was sentenced yesterday.
The girl, who had run away from home, was sexually abused by both men and required to help prepare the illicit pot for sale before she was rescued in 2013, authorities said.

Balletto, 36, pleaded guilty to marijuana trafficking, firearms possession and using a minor to violate drug laws.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, but senior US District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco sentenced him to 31 years.
Prosecutors had argued for a 32-year sentence, while a plea agreement called for a minimum of 27 years.
'The circumstances of this offence are among the most horrific of any case prosecuted in this District in recent memory,' prosecutors wrote in seeking the higher sentence.
They included 'the sadistic physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of a 15-year-old girl over a prolonged period of time.'
Balletto's attorney, James Scott Thomson, did not immediately respond to telephone and emailed messages yesterday.

The second man, Patrick Pearmain, 31, was sentenced in April to 12 and a half years in prison on similar charges after authorities said he also imprisoned the girl in a metal tool chest just 1.2 metres long, 60 centimetres high and 60 centimetres wide.
Lake County sheriff's deputies and federal Homeland Security investigators said they found 1,300 marijuana plants and numerous firearms, including assault-style rifles with night vision scopes, on a remote property owned by Balletto about 160 kilometres northwest of Sacramento.
They also found body armour, large quantities of ammunition and a gas mask.
Prosecutors said Balletto met the runaway girl during a trip to Los Angeles in 2013 and told her she could come live with him, his wife and children.
Instead, they said he took her to the marijuana farm and put her to work trimming marijuana buds for about three weeks.
Aside from the sexual abuse, he admitted in the plea agreement to shocking her with a cattle prod, chaining her to a couch or bed by her neck, and forcing her into the tool chest.

Authorities said they found the tool chest cut with air holes, with a blanket inside, decorated inside with a decal of a human skull and the words 'Bone Collector.' The girl told authorities she was kept in the box on two occasions for a total of three days. Balletto said he kept a chain around her neck for three or four days.
'Balletto told her she was a 'trooper' because she didn't scream inside the box,' investigators said in court documents describing the girl's account of her imprisonment.
She told them the men stuck a hose through one of the air holes to wash her off and wash away human waste.
She received 'several months' of residential mental health treatment in another state after she was rescued, authorities said.
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