FOSTER CARE/ADOPTION HELL:Judith Leekin Arrested in a House of Horrors:Police Find 9 Adopted Kids Handcuffed & Starved
What possesses people to mistreat and abuse others in such a heinous manner? Why would anyone treat another individual in such a degrading and humiliating way? Maybe for the millions in state funds they received.
Well if its Florida, it must be another case of either mishandled foster care or adoption. Such is yet again the case with 62 year old Judith Leekin, who allegedly duped four different New York City adoption agencies into allowing her to adopt 11 children. All of the individuals ranging in age from 15 to 27 were abused in one form or another. According to investigators, the teens and young adults were handcuffed, tethered together with plastic ties and allowed to soil themselves. They had scars on their wrists and some had burns. The abuse in some cases to place over a 15 year period as the adoptions took place between 1993 and 1996.
After further investigation and being granted entrance by Leekin, however, authorities were shocked to find eight people being held hostage in one of the home’s bedrooms.
“[The victims] initially denied being handcuffed. They seemed brainwashed or in fear of their lives,” said Vega. “These people have lived there for some time and we think they all came at different times, between 10 and 15 years ago. None of them appeared to have an education past the fourth-grade level.”
The people, who range in age from 15 to 27, told authorities they were kept handcuffed to one another, forced to sleep on tile floors on only a single bed sheet and were prohibited from going to the bathroom. As a result, they were forced to soil themselves. (ABC News )
HOUSE OF HORRORS: Judith Leekin allegedly kept her adopted children prisoner in her Florida home (above) — at the expense of New York taxpayers.
Judith Leekin is presently being help in the Port St Lucie County jail on $4.3 million bond. Leekin received somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million in state issued funds for the care of these adopted children. Care that was obviously never passed on to those that she was supposed to care for.
Five teenagers and four developmentally disabled adults were found in Leekin’s home at the time of her arrest in Florida, malnourished and poorly treated, according to Port St. Lucie police.
The whereabouts of another 18-year-old man were unclear yesterday.
Some media reports said the children and adults, when found by police earlier this month, had scars on their bodies, including burns on their wrists.
They range in age from 15 to 27. One is blind and mumbles. One can barely walk or stand. One can’t read. But authorities said they do not know if the handicaps are a result of abuse. (News Day)
Leekin lived in a neighborhood in the Laurelton section of Queens where investigators say she started a cruel scam, allegedly using the kids and New York’s foster care and adoption system to line her own pockets.
The adoptions appear to have taken place 1993 to 1996. Investigators say the adopted children now range in age from 15 to 27. Four are developmentally disabled.
Leekin allegedly had multiple aliases to repeatedly apply and become an adoptive parent. It appears the children provided the unemployed Leekin with as much as $180,000 a year from New York Child Welfare and other agencies.