[I have been following this story for years. Adoption for financial gain, torturing adoptees? It’s real… Lara]
New York settles suit with adoptees abused in Port St. Lucie
- By staff report TCPalm December 10, 2012
The abuser, Judith Leekin, was arrested in 2007 by the Port St. Lucie Police Department and pleaded no contest to numerous local charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated abuse of disabled adults.
In 2009, Leekin was sentenced 20 years in prison by Circuit Judge Robert Belanger, who allowed the first half of the term to run concurrently with a 10-year, 10-month sentence Leekin received in New York for defrauding that state of $1.68 million in adoption subsidies.
Now 67 year old, Leekin is expected to stay at Broward Correctional Institution until 2026.
Police reports indicated that while Leekin’s two-story house on Hawthorne Circle was “lavishly furnished,” the adoptees were forced to sleep in a small storage room, were often handcuffed or bound with plastic ties, were regularly beaten and were denied medical care and schooling.
Court documents show Leekin used aliases to adopt 11 children in New York over several years before moving to Port St. Lucie 1998 with the adopted children, whose ages ranged from 14 to the mid-20s.
According to The New York Times, the settlement involves payments to the 10 plaintiffs but resolves only claims against the city, which had placed two of the children with Leekin. The other eight children were placed with Leekin through private adoption agencies that had contracts with the city. A lawsuit against those agencies is pending.
The 11th adopted child went missing under Leekin’s care and is presumed dead.
The settlement amount, which was redacted in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, was provided to The Times by an official in New York’s Law Department. The official said $6 million was designated for the two plaintiffs placed with Leekin by the city, with the rest of the money to be distributed to the other eight.
The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.