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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Woman accused in adoption scam got 8 kids in4 months from NYC...
Woman accused in adoption scam got 8 kids in 4 months from NYC
By BRIAN SKOLOFF
Associated Press Writer
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A woman accused of abusing her 11 adopted
children and bilking New York City out of nearly $1.3 million gained
custody of eight of the kids by using fake names over four months in
1994, authorities said Thursday.
Judith Leekin, 62, of Port St. Lucie, used two different aliases at two
separate agencies in New York City to adopt the children between June
and September in 1994 and never once used her real name, according to
the New York City Administration for Children's Services.
"1994 was a big year for her," agency spokeswoman Sharman Stein said.
Leekin is accused of adopting the 11 children between 1990 and 1996
using four aliases. Stein said she received $1.26 million in stipends to
help care for the kids.
Authorities in Florida, however, say she received up to $2 million in
payments from New York City. They say the children - who now range in
age from 15 to 27 - told them Leekin never took them to see a doctor or
dentist and never allowed them to attend school.
Leekin is charged with 10 counts of abuse, among other things. She
allegedly handcuffed the children and tethered them together at night,
forcing them to sleep on a cold tile floor and soil themselves because
they weren't allowed to use the bathroom. She could face up to 190 years
in prison if convicted on all counts, prosecutors said.
Her attorney, Mario Garcia, said he has filed a not guilty plea. Her
arraignment is set for Aug. 17.
Leekin's biological son spoke out recently in his mother's defense.
"She's a loving caring mom and grandma," the son told WCBS-TV in New
York City in a report aired Wednesday. The station did not name him and
did not show his face.
"She's done everything for my kids and they love her," he said. "I'm her
only son ... You don't see me driving a BMW. I'm renting my apartment.
The $2 million I'd love to see."
Port St. Lucie police have said Leekin would likely face more charges
and that others could be arrested for helping her. They would not elaborate.
The Florida Department of Children & Families investigated a complaint
of child abuse against Leekin in 1999, but the case was later closed and
the records are sealed.
"There was absolutely no indication of child abuse on any of the victims
that they saw at that time," DCF spokeswoman Ellen Higinbotham said.
However, New York City officials said they have no record of Florida
ever contacting them in 1999, a move that may have raised red flags
since Leekin never used her real name to adopt the children.
"But that would be considered part of standard practice if they wanted
to see what the earlier jurisdiction might have known about this
individual," Stein said.
Higinbotham could not say whether such a call was made. However, she
said DCF investigators would not be required to determine whether the
children were adopted or where they were from. She declined to say
whether DCF knew in this case that the children had been adopted in New
New York City officials believe Leekin may have been able to fool the
system because it wasn't until 1999 that adoption agencies there began
requiring fingerprints from prospective parents.
Stein said Leekin adopted one child under an alias in July 1990 and five
more using a different name at another agency in June 1994. She then
adopted three more under another name in September 1994 and two more in
Authorities allege Leekin was using the children as a cottage industry
to line her pockets with subsidy payments while abusing and neglecting them.
People who adopt special needs children in New York City can get as much
as $55 a day until the child turns 21. Stein said all the children
adopted by Leekin were deemed to have special needs. She wouldn't
specify their disabilities.
Ten of the children and adults are now in Florida state care. One is
blind and mumbles. Another can barely walk or stand. All have scars on
their wrists and ankles from allegedly being tied and handcuffed. None
appear to have more than a fourth-grade education.
Police were still searching for an 18 year old believed to have been
among the 11 adopted children.
Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not
be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
CURRENTLY CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES VIOLATES MORE CIVIL RIGHTS ON A
DAILY BASIS THEN ALL OTHER AGENCIES COMBINED INCLUDING THE NSA / CIA
CPS Does not protect children...
It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even
killed at the hands of Child Protective Services.
every parent should read this .pdf from
connecticut dcf watch...
Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the US
These numbers come from The National Center on
Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)
Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS
*Perpetrators of Maltreatment*
Physical Abuse CPS 160, Parents 59
Sexual Abuse CPS 112, Parents 13
Neglect CPS 410, Parents 241
Medical Neglect CPS 14 Parents 12
Fatalities CPS 6.4, Parents 1.5
CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, HAPPILY DESTROYING HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT
FAMILIES YEARLY NATIONWIDE AND COMING TO YOU'RE HOME SOON...
BE SURE TO FIND OUT WHERE YOUR CANDIDATES STANDS ON THE ISSUE OF
REFORMING OR ABOLISHING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ("MAKE YOUR CANDIDATES
TAKE A STAND ON THIS ISSUE.") THEN REMEMBER TO VOTE ACCORDINGLY IF THEY
ARE "FAMILY UNFRIENDLY" IN THE NEXT ELECTION...
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