Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sentencing for woman accused of abusing adopted children

Fort Pierce, Florida - According to the Associated Press, Judith Leekin, who was accused of abusing 11 disabled children she adopted, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison:

Circuit Judge Robert Belanger on Wednesday called Judith Leekin's actions "reprehensible" and handed down the maximum punishment allowed in the plea agreement. Leekin, 63, pleaded no contest to four counts of aggravated child abuse and four counts of aggravated abuse of disabled adults. The adoptees are now in their mid-teens and 20s.
As conveyed in earlier FRIDA posts, the children, who were found severely malnourished in July 2007, were often handcuffed together and forced to soil themselves because they were not allowed to use the bathroom. They told authorities they had never seen a doctor or a dentist and had not been allowed to attend school or leave the house. According to court records, Judith Leekin used four aliases to adopt from different agencies and created fake report cards to show the children's progress, even though they were not attending school, according to court records and officials. The children were adopted in New York City before Judith Leekin moved to Florida in 1998.

According to this report in the Fort Pierce Tribune, the whereabouts of one of the children Judith Leekin adopted, Shane "Moo" Graham, a boy with Down syndrome, is is still unknown. It is alleged that Judith Leekin took Shane from their apartment in July 2000 and returned a half-hour later without him. Some of the adopted children have told police they believe that Shane, who would now be 20-years-old, is dead.