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Lawsuit: State failed to protect kids from 'sadistic' woman
Mirror staff reports:
Attorneys filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Social and Health Services over a case involving "sadistic acts of torture and abuse" of six children.
Maria Gonzales-Esquivel, 47, was arrested last August for the alleged assaults in her home in unincorporated King County, between Federal Way and Auburn. She pleaded not guilty.
The lawsuit contends that child services workers failed to protect the children despite 17 complaints of abuse, according to Seattlepi.com. DSHS has not responded to the lawsuit.
The victims included six children, now between ages 7 and 19, along with their father, who said he had taken many beatings to spare his kids.
Detectives and child services workers met with the children, who initially denied the abuse, perhaps after being coached to lie by their mother, county prosecutors argue. A school counselor had reported that one kid's face was badly bruised, and another school counselor told detectives that one of the boys often came to school with "open sores and fresh wounds."
Esquivel allegedly beat the oldest child on multiple occasions and forced the children to attack each other. Esquivel is also accused of depriving the children of food, clothing and access to basic hygiene.
On one occasion, the children's father said Esquivel whipped his genitals again and again for several hours, claiming this act would rid him of an infection, according to a King County detective's report. She also beat him with a rubber mallet so ferociously she broke one of his ribs and punctured his lungs. According to the detective, she also forced the father to eat 20 habanero peppers with no fluids to rid him of herpes — a treatment she allegedly inflicted on the youngsters.
Esquivel remains in jail on $200,000 bail and awaits her trial this summer.
To read more about the lawsuit, click here.