Turpin Siblings, Who Escaped Abuse By Parents, Sue Over Placement In Abusive Foster Home
Six of the 13 Turpin siblings who were removed from their Riverside County home four years ago following a long history of abuse and neglect from their biological parents have filed lawsuits alleging they were further abused by their foster parents.
David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment and false imprisonment. Their children had ranged in ages from 2 to 29 at the time they were removed from their Perris home in 2018.
The lawsuits name Riverside County and a private foster care agency, ChildNet, for their alleged failure to protect the children from subsequent abuse.
The children had been placed under the care of a couple that ChildNet allegedly knew had a history of abuse and that the agency received reports of abuse against the Turpin siblings but did not report it to authorities as required by law, according to the lawsuit.
Elan Zektser, who represents the two oldest siblings suing, said it's unknown whether Riverside County was aware of the alleged abuse, but that the county had a responsibility to check in and make sure the children were safe in their foster homes.
“You can't just hand over six of your most vulnerable children in the county, in the state, and then just close your eyes. You don't get to do that,” Zektser said.
The Turpin siblings have since been removed from the foster family's care. Zekster's clients have aged out, but four of the siblings remain in foster care.
Zektser said he and the attorney representing the youngest four siblings want the lawsuits to go in front of a jury so that the children's own voices can be heard.
Riverside County's Department of Public Social Services said it would "not comment on pending legal matters" but issued the following statement to LAist:
"We deeply care about the safety and wellbeing of every single child under our care. Our hearts go out to the Turpin siblings. 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. This includes expanding the availability of quality and safe placements for all children in foster care."
ChildNet did not immediately respond to our request for comment.