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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘The Worst Abuse|I Have Ever Seen’

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - Child advocates let a convicted murderer get custody of a 10-year-old girl, and she imprisoned the girl for 10 years, starving, beating and prostituting her and forcing her to drink her own urine, the victim claims in court.

"Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey described the situation as 'the worst abuse I have ever seen in my entire career in law enforcement,'" according to the complaint.

Beatrice Weston sued Intercultural Family Services, Tara L. Wayt, and Thomas Purl, in the Court of Common Pleas.

Intercultural Family Services is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit.

Weston, now 21, was removed from her mother's custody and placed with Linda Ann Weston in August 2002, when she was 10 years old, according to the complaint.

Although Linda Ann Weston, a paroled murderer, did not qualify to receive custody of a child, Intercultural Family Services and the two attorneys who served as Beatrice's child advocates allowed and even encouraged her placement with Weston, according to the complaint.

Federal authorities in January filed a 196-count indictment against Linda Ann Weston, including RICO violations, hate crime, kidnapping, torture, sex-trafficking and murder.

Weston, who allegedly enslaved mentally disabled adults to steal their benefit checks, could face the death penalty for some of the charges, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

"By way of background, in 1981, Linda Ann Weston imprisoned, tortured and beat her sister's boyfriend with a hammer, and then starved him to death," the complaint states.

"In January of 1983, Linda Ann Weston was convicted of third-degree murder for starving this man to death.

"IFS agreed to arrange appropriate behavior and health evaluations for Beatrice Weston and to arrange for appropriate interventions as needed.

"Despite undertaking these responsibilities, defendant IFS never informed the Family Court of Pennsylvania for Philadelphia County of Linda Ann Weston's criminal history of abuse, which made the placement of plaintiff Beatrice Weston manifestly unsafe and dangerous," according to the complaint.

Pennsylvania law requires criminal background checks for any adult taking custody of a child.

Beatrice Weston claims that though Linda Ann Weston's homicide conviction disqualified her from being a foster parent, IFS never disclosed her criminal history to the court, and "actively encouraged" Beatrice's placement with her.

Intercultural Family Services, which provided child protective services to Beatrice Weston until April 2003, left her in Linda Ann Weston's custody, allowing her foster mom to abuse her for years, according to the complaint.

"Over the next ten years, plaintiff Beatrice Weston was imprisoned by Linda Ann Weston," the complaint states.

"During that time, plaintiff Beatrice Weston was forcibly prostituted by Linda Ann Weston, was regularly beaten and starved, and was denied medical and dental care, as well as formal schooling.

"Plaintiff Beatrice Weston was also forced by Linda Ann Weston to drink and bathe in her own urine.

"Plaintiff Beatrice Weston was finally located and rescued in October of 2011."

Beatrice Weston claims that Wayt and Purl, her child advocates, failed to report Linda Ann Weston's criminal history and to monitor Beatrice's living conditions and emotional well-being.

She seeks damages for negligence, pain and suffering, physical and mental injuries, and medical expenses.

She is represented by Dominic Guerrini with Kline & Specter.

Intercultural Family Services did not immediately return requests for comment.

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