Victim in ‘Tacony dungeon’ case sues social services, public defenders

tacony dungeon linda ann weston
Rikard Larma/Metro. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey entering the basement dungeon in October 2011.

Beatrice Weston, one of many alleged victims in the infamous “Tacony dungeon” case, filed a lawsuit late last week against the human services agency and public defenders who placed her in the care of alleged kidnapping ringleader Linda Ann Weston.

Linda Ann was awarded custody of Beatrice – her niece – when the child was just 10 due to unspecified medical problems suffered by her birth mother and an ongoing family feud.

That was nine years before police made the grisly discovery in an apartment building Linda Ann was renting on the 4700 block of Longshore Avenue, where investigators responding to complaints of suspicious activity two years ago found four malnourished adults chained to a subbasement boiler.

Linda Ann was allegedly holding the victims – many of them mentally disabled – through manipulation, coercion and threats of violence in order to cash their Social Security and disability checks as part of a kidnapping ring whose scope steadily widened as the investigation continued.

Facts of the case

In the lawsuit filed Friday in the Court of Common Pleas, Beatrice claims human services nonprofit Intercultural Family Services never conducted a background check of Linda Ann or informed the Family Court of her criminal history.

Linda Ann was in January 1983 convicted of third-degree murder for imprisoning her sister’s boyfriend, torturing him, beating him with a hammer and starving him to death.

Beatrice in the complaint claimed Linda Ann’s should have been disqualified under state law from taking custody of a child.

The suit also names public defenders Tara Wayt and Thomas Purl, who acted as child advocates during the custody dispute, alleging they failed to adequately supervise Beatrice’s placement by conducting sufficient home visits or properly evaluating her living conditions and emotional well-being.

It further claims IFS generally failed to train its workers to investigate child placements, perform criminal docket searches, conduct interviews and follow up on confidential tips, amounting to a “state-created danger” putting already vulnerable children at further risk.

Damages

Linda Ann allegedly imprisoned Beatrice for ten years of the girl’s life, denying her medical and dental care and forcing her to drink and bathe in her own urine.

Beatrice is seeking more than $50,000 in damages to compensate for lost wages, mental trauma and debilitating injuries sustained as a result of the continued abuse, which Commissioner Charles Ramsey called “the worst abuse I have ever seen in my entire career in law enforcement,” according to the complaint.

Beatrice testified during a preliminary hearing in December of 2011 that Linda Ann – along with her daughter Jean McIntosh and her children’s father Gregory Thomas – brutally beat her on a daily basis with metal broomsticks, baseball bats, electrical cords and heated spoons.

She said she was forced to wear long-sleeved clothing to school to cover the marks until the seventh grade, when she was removed from class entirely .

Beatrice suffers permanent dental damage, severe scarring on her face, chest, back and neck, a poorly-healed leg fracture that was never properly set, burn marks, pellet gun injuries and severe malnutrition.

Linda Ann allegedly prostituted her niece. Beatrice testified she was at the age of 16 held captive in a Texas attic and forced to have sex with men her aunt contacted through party lines. “I never once wanted to,” she said on the stand.

Beatrice claimed she was on a separate occasion locked in the closet of a West Palm Beach, Fla. home.

She said the door was often nailed shut, the space inside was too small to sit down, she was rarely fed and she was only allowed out once a day to empty the bucket she used for waste.

Search and rescue

Beatrice was reported missing in 2009 because a relative saw her “looking skinny” and worried for her health. But she wasn’t found until October 2011, when the “Tacony dungeon” investigation broke open.

Beatrice said by that time she had been locked for two to three weeks in McIntosh’s bathroom closet, where she remained even as the raid commenced three floors below.

She alleged McIntosh eventually sneaked her away to a second location under the cover of Muslim garb.

Investigators didn’t find her until two days later, when nine more children and young adults linked to the case were recovered from a separate home.

Linda Ann Weston and four other suspects were in January charged by a federal grand jury with a total of 196 criminal counts, including the commission of a hate crime, conspiracy, racketeering, kidnapping, involuntary servitude and murder for allegedly abusing two of the victims to death.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…