Spurgeons, DHR face three $25 million lawsuits
FLORENCE – Two former foster parents and the head of the Alabama Department of Human Resources are subjects of $25 million lawsuits from three victims of abuse that occurred in custody of the foster parents.
Daniel Spurgeon, Jenise Spurgeon and Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner are named in the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.
In addition, eight people identified as Fictitious Defendants A through H are defendants in the suit for actions that the suit claims allowed the victims to fall into custody of the foster parents and remain there.
The suit claims the Spurgeons “methodically sexually abused, physically abused, verbally abused, mentally abused and emotionally abused these children by, among other things, chronically starving them, isolating them, torturing them, physically assaulting them and sexually assaulting them.”
It continues, “The unspeakable acts of abuse and neglect that the plaintiff and the other children suffered from occurred as a direct result of a catastrophic failure of Alabama’s Child Welfare system which is operated by the state of Alabama Department of Human Resources and its employees.”
Birmingham attorneys Tommy James, of Tommy James Law, and Jeremy Knowles, of Morris Haynes, filed the three suits on behalf of the defendants, whose identifies are not revealed due to the nature of the offenses and the fact that they were minors when the incidents occurred or still are minors.
Each victim is seeking $25 million.
Daniel Spurgeon is serving a 25-year prison sentence after pleaded guilty to 11 counts of aggravated child abuse, two counts of first-degree rape of a child under 12, and one count of sexual torture, according to court records. The plea agreement calls for Spurgeon to serve the full sentence without the chance for parole. Jenise Spurgeon is awaiting trail.
The incidents occurred in Clanton and Florence while they were foster children in the Spurgeons’ home, James said.
“Three more victims of Alabama’s broken child welfare system have bravely come forward to seek justice against the state and their abusers,” he said. “These victims suffered from the most horrific abuse imaginable for years as a direct result of DHR employees not doing their jobs. It is past time for DHR and it’s employees to be held accountable for failing these children.
“These victims should have never been placed in the Spurgeon’s home, much less been allowed to stay there for years. My clients suffered unimaginable consequences because DHR did not do its job and it is appalling that this was allowed to happen. What these victims went through is heartbreaking and shocking. These brave victims hope and pray that these cases will lead to change so that something like this never happens again. The citizens of Alabama need to know how broken the system is and how often it fails our children.”