"It's unlikely that, on her own, she would have done these horrible things to that child," attorney Michael Sullivan said.
He said that the woman was responsible for harming the child, but that it could have been worse if she had not complied, the newspaper reported.
Messages seeking comment were left Wednesday with Sullivan.
Authorities announced federal charges Tuesday against the three people the woman lived with in Ashland, about 65 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Jordie Callahan, 26, Jessica Hunt, 31, and Daniel J. "DJ" Brown, 33, were charged with forced labor. Callahan also was charged with tampering with a witness in the investigation.
A federal court lawyer for Callahan declined to comment. A second defense attorney, Ed Bryan, said Hunt will plead not guilty and said there are credibility issues with the mother. There was no immediate response to phone and email messages left for the attorney representing Brown.
The first suspect to have an initial court appearance will be Silsby, on Thursday. An FBI affidavit says Silsby admitted she helped retrieve the alleged victims from their relative's house and once smashed the woman's hand with a rock so the woman could go to a hospital and bring back pain medication for the suspects.
Public records show Callahan was convicted of raping an 11-year-old when he was 15. Callahan claimed that the encounter was consensual and that the girl was the aggressor. An appeals court overruled that argument.
An attorney for one of the suspects and the alleged captor's mother said the mentally disabled woman was given a place to stay because she and her young daughter had no home.
Andrew Hyde, who represented Callahan on related state kidnapping charges that were dismissed Tuesday as the federal case was announced, said the woman moved in and out as she pleased.