Reporting Jericka Duncan
By Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It’s a story that horrified and shocked our area–four mentally challenged adults were found locked in a basement of a Tacony home.
The torture went beyond there. For the first time, CBS 3 heard from one of the alleged victims who called the suspected ringleader, aunt.
“They should have looked at her background,” said Beatrice Weston, who spoke exclusively to CBS 3 Monday.
The 20-year-old is suing the City of Philadelphia. Ten years ago the Department of Human Services placed Beatrice with her aunt, Linda Ann Weston, a convicted murderer.
The civil rights lawsuit, filed Monday morning, states Linda Ann Weston’s criminal history should have prevented her from getting custody of Beatrice. In 1983, Weston was convicted of 3rd Degree Murder for starving a man to death.
Attorney Shanin Specter says D.H.S had a reckless disregard for his client’s safety.
“Ten years of torture, depravation, beating, being forced to drink her own urine,” said Specter. “I mean things that are just unspeakable. Specter would not put a dollar amount on the amount of money his client is seeking. He says a jury will determine a fair compensation.
A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter said the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
In October Weston and three others were arrested and charged with assault, kidnapping and other related offenses. CBS 3 spoke exclusively with three of the four mentally challenged adults last fall who say Weston beat and burned them and even stole their social security checks. Officials say Weston moved from state to state before authorities in Philadelphia got involved.
“I was in the closet,” described Beatrice. “In Florida I was in basements with them and attics but when we moved here, I was locked in the bathroom closet and they was locked in the basement.”
Beatrice, who is working to earn her high school diploma, says she is doing her best to move on from a terrifying past that still haunts her everyday.