WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A South Florida law firm representing ten special needs children has reached a partial financial settlement involving a former adoptive mother convicted of extreme child abuse.
The case unfolded in Port St. Lucie five years ago.
The children, now grown, are all living in Florida and all them still face special problems as a result of what they went through.
Their former adoptive mother, Judith Leekin, was sentenced in 2009, to 20 years in prison. Authorities say she beat, burned, stabbed and starved her adopted children and used zip ties and handcuffs to keep them all locked in a room together.
Leekin adopted the children in New York City and brought them to Port St. Lucie in 1998.
"Remember, when these kids were found they couldn't tell time, they couldn't make change, they had never been to school, they didn't get a very good start in life," said attorney Ted Babbitt.
Babbitt's firm settled with New York City for $9.7 million in federal court. The suit claims Leekin fraudulently collected more than a million dollars in adoption subsidies and abused the children for years.
Attorneys hope to eventually set a trial date for the remaining defendants, which include the adoption agency.
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