PHILADELPHIA (CN) - In a lawsuit stemming from one of the most shocking child-abuse stories in city history, a mother claims Philadelphia took custody of her 10-year-old daughter and placed her in a house of horrors where she was forced to work as a prostitute and drink and bathe in her own urine.
In her federal complaint, Vickie Weston claims says the city took her daughter Beatrice from her on Aug. 16, 2002, and placed her with in the home of the girl's aunt, co-defendant Linda Ann Weston.
In January this year, federal prosecutors unsealed a 196-count indictment against Linda Weston, her daughter and three others, charging them with racketeering, conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, hate crimes, sex trafficking, kidnapping, forced human labor, theft, fraud and other crimes.
Linda Weston et al. were accused of imprisoning 10 people with mental disabilities to steal their Social Security payments. Prosecutors claim the defendants asked the disabled people to designate them the lawful recipients of the payments in exchange for "a comfortable place to live," then imprisoned them inhuman conditions.
Weston's landlord called police in October 2011 to report he had found four malnourished adults in a basement boiler room. Police raided the apartment building, rescuing six disabled adults and four children.
ABC News reported that Beatrice Weston was among the children and that she had open wounds and scars, burn marks consistent with tortured from a heated spoon, broken bones that had healed incorrectly, and signs that her ankles had been shot repeatedly with a pellet gun.
Linda Weston's attorney George Yacobian accused prosecutors of overreaching "for effect" and said the disabled adults lived voluntarily as "a family" with his client.
But in her lawsuit, Vicki Weston claims her sister imprisoned her own boyfriend in 1981, beat him with a hammer and starved him to death, and was convicted of third-degree murder for it in January 1983.
"Despite defendant Linda Ann Weston's violent and disqualifying criminal history, defendant City of Philadelphia, with the support of defendants Nefertiti Sovoy, a social worker, and Richard Ames, an assistant city solicitor, arranged and directed that the custody, control, and care of plaintiff's daughter, Beatrice Weston, be given to defendant Linda Ann Weston," the new lawsuit states.
Weston claims the city Department of Human Services never inspected her sister's home, nor did it inform the family court of her criminal history.
While in the custody of her aunt, "Beatrice Weston was forcibly prostituted by defendant Linda Ann Weston, and was regularly beaten, starved, and denied medical and dental are, as well as formal schooling," the complaint states.
After the rescue, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called it "the worst abuse I have ever seen in my entire career in law enforcement."
Vicki Weston seeks of more than $50,000 for negligence and civil rights violations.
She is represented by Emeka Igwe.
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