Several of the Turpin siblings who were rescued from since-admitted torture at the hands of their biological parents have filed a lawsuit claiming that the county and a private foster care agency knowingly placed them in the care of guardians who sexually, physically, and emotionally abused the already fragile children.
In a complaint filed against Riverside County, ChildNet Youth and Family Services, and 50 unnamed defendants, two of the Turpin siblings allege multiple violations of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, negligence, and breaches of duties as they endured continued abuse at the hands of their new guardians. The siblings are identified in the document as Jane Doe 5 and John Doe 6 to protect their privacy as victims of childhood abuse and neglect.
According to the complaint, after the children were rescued from the “House of Horrors” where they had virtually no contact with the outside world, the county and ChildNet placed the plaintiffs and four of their siblings with a married couple that ChildNet certified as foster parents. The siblings alleged, however, that the married couple, identified in the complaint as “Mr. and Mrs. O,” subjected them to continued and often times worse forms of physical and mental abuse.
The children lived with Mr. and Mrs. O and their adult daughter from early 2018 until the three were arrested by deputies with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office in March 2021 for crimes stemming from the alleged sexual and physical abuse of foster children, according to the complaint.
“Defendants knew that they were unfit to be foster parents, particularly for children as vulnerable as plaintiffs, because Mr. and Ms. O. had a prior history of physically and emotionally abusing children as well as severely neglecting children who had been placed in their care,” the complaint says. “Defendants were aware of credible reports of abuse and neglect committed by Mr. and Mrs. O and their adult daughter. However, defendants did not act upon that information.”
The abusive acts alleged in the complaint include Mr. O sexually abusing Jane Doe 5 and her siblings by “grabbing and fondling their buttocks, legs, and breasts,” kissing them on the mouth, and making “sexually suggestive comments” about them.
The couple and their adult daughter also allegedly physically abused the children by “pulling their hair, hitting them with a belt, and striking their heads.”
The guardians allegedly punished the children by forcing them to sit outside alone “for many hours at a time,” making them recount the horrors of living with their biological parents, telling them they would be returned to their biological parents, and urging them to die by suicide. They also allegedly forced the kids to “eat excessive amounts of food, which led to eating disorders” and made them “eat until they began to vomit.”
“After they began to vomit, [the guardians] forced them to eat their own vomit,” the complaint alleges.
The children were also allegedly forced to “watch as a foster child in the adult daughter’s care was severely physically abused and tortured.”
“The Foster Family that has been charged with horrific criminal crimes is only the tip of this iceberg,” Elan Zektser, the siblings’ attorney, said in an email to Law&Crime. “The County of Riverside and ChildNet turned their heads and closed their eyes as some of Riversides most vulnerable children were being horrifically abused for a second time. This is simply unacceptable.”
Though the foster parents and their adult daughter were not identified in the document, 63-year-old Marcelino Olguin, 58-year-old Rosa Olguin, and their 37-year-old daughter Lennys Olguin are currently facing multiple charges stemming from allegedly abusing nine foster children. It was previously reported that the victims could include Turpin children.
Marcelino was charged with lewd acts on a child under age 14, lewd acts on a minor 14 or 15, false imprisonment, and willful child cruelty. Rosa and Lennys were both charged with false imprisonment, willful child cruelty, and dissuading a witness. They have all pleaded not guilty.
ChildNet and a spokesperson for Riverside County did not immediately respond to messages from Law&Crime regarding the lawsuit.
The biological parents, David Turpin and Louise Turpin, pleaded guilty to more than a dozen felonies, including torture and false imprisonment, and have been sentenced to life in prison. They are eligible for parole after 25 years.
Read the filed complaint below.
[Image via ABC screengrab]
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