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Six of the 13 Turpin siblings are sharing their experiences from their time in foster care after being removed from their parents’ home in Perris, Calif.
According to court documents obtained by E! News, the younger Turpin siblings allege they were the victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse by a foster family they were placed with after they were rescued from law enforcement in 2018.
The children also allege in court documents that officials charged with overseeing their care failed to report the “severe abuse and neglect” when warned of it.
According to the complaint, officials kept the siblings in the foster home for three years despite being alerted to the alleged abuse, which included “hitting them in the face with sandals, pulling their hair, hitting them with a belt and striking their heads.”
The Turpin siblings say in court documents they are suing Riverside County and the private foster care agency tasked with protecting them for compensatory damages for the “physical and psychological injuries and emotional distress” they have suffered.
Fictitious names are being used in court documents for the foster and adoptive parents in order to protect plaintiffs’ privacy as victims of childhood abuse and neglect.
“Our hearts go out to the Turpin siblings,” a spokesperson for the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services said in a statement to ABC News. “Any instance when a child is harmed is heartbreaking. We continue to evaluate our practices with a critical eye and are committed to understanding and addressing the root cause.”
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The spokesperson added that the county does not comment on pending legal matters or specific juvenile cases due to confidentiality laws.
A ChildNet spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News: “At this time, our organization is not at liberty to disclose facts or discuss the allegations made in the complaint. We look forward to providing the facts at the appropriate time in court. Our agency has been serving California’s most vulnerable, traumatized youth for over 50 years. We have a strong track record of providing excellent care and continue to demonstrate our commitment to these children.”
The Turpin siblings were rescued from their parents’ home in January 2018 after Jordan Turpin, then 17, slipped out of a window, ran to the street and called 911. Authorities subsequently discovered that David and Louise Turpin had subjected Jordan and her siblings to violence and deprived them of food, sleep, hygiene, education and health care.
Jordan’s bravery led to her siblings’ freedom and put their parents behind bars. In 2019, David and Louise pleaded guilty to 14 counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment and false imprisonment. They were both sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
“I knew I would die if I got caught,” Jordan told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in November. “I think it was us coming so close to death so many times. If something happened to me, at least I died trying.”
As for why the Turpins chose to file a lawsuit now, the attorney representing the two oldest Turpin siblings, Elan Zektster, explained their reasoning on Good Morning America.
“They have highlighted that the most important thing to them is that this doesn’t happen to other kids,” Elan said. “I can’t even tell you how many times our clients have told us, ‘We just don’t want this to happen to someone else.'”
In a statement to E! News, Elan added, “The Turpin 13 endured some of the most sickening child abuse the County of Riverside has ever seen…It is beyond shocking that the County and ChildNet let these kids get horrifically abused once again. Our communities should be appalled. We must always speak up for our children. Always.”
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