ROCKPORT, Texas — A federal court awarded Sophy Treadway of Rockport almost $1.8 million in damages earlier this month after siding with her in her human trafficking lawsuit against a local business.
The suit filed in August of 2019 claims that Treadway was forced to work at Rockport Donuts for 112 hours every week for a salary of $75 per month.
With the court's ruling, Treadway is now in for a $1.78 million payday — and something else that's important to her.
"I’m waiting for my freedom," she said.
The donut shop's owners deny Treadway's accusations.
Matthew Otero says Treadway is his wife's niece and the three of them were a family.
Under oath in a court deposition, Otero said that he paid $20,000 for a visa to get Treadway from her native Cambodia to Rockport.
But he says they were not forcing her to pay off the visa by working long hours or holding her against her will.
Otero calls the accusations "fabricated" and he thinks they're Treadway's form of revenge for the Rockport Donuts owners reporting her to the police for supposedly stealing from the store.
Treadway is indicted on felony theft charges but has not received a trial date yet.
Her attorney thinks a judge should throw out the case against her, because he says she wasn't stealing money.
“That charge should be dismissed, because she was just picking up what belonged to her in terms of the tips that were given by the customers," Xenos Yuen said.
An attorney for the Oteros says they will appeal the court's decision.
In the meantime, Rockport Donuts remains open for business, and a former employee is set to receive a lot of money from its owners.
"Right now, I'm so happy," Treadway said.