Judith Leekin sentenced to 20 years for abusing disabled adults

Date: 2009-02-04
Source: cbs12.com

Allison Bybee

A local woman accused of abusing her adopted children accepts a plea deal Wednesday.

63 year-old Judith Leekin will now spend the next 20 years of her life behind bars. Around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, she pleaded no contest to four counts of aggravated child abuse and four counts of aggravated disabled adult abuse.

This case started in 2007. More than nine disabled children and adults were found living in a Port St. Lucie home reportedly treated like prisoners, beaten and handcuffed together and barely fed.

This past summer Leekin was sentenced in New York, where she lived part time, to nearly 11 years in prison for fraud. Federal officials said she lied to adopt the disabled children and pocketed federal money.

Today's plea deal is seen as fair by both sides. Steve Hendriks, Assistant State District Attorney, says, "It's a fantastic day. She's going to serve 20 years in prison. I don't know if she will be alive at the end of 20 years, but we are very glad."

Judith Leekin's Attorney, Diamond Litty, says, "I feel it was appropriate, fair, it is a fine resolution to a case that certainly is in the best interest of the client and the best interest of the children/"

Leekin was visibly upset and she apologized for what she did. She will serve her two sentences concurrently. In all she will spend 20 years behind bars, the first 11 years will be in federal prison.


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