Woman files lawsuit against Philadelphia over custody of daughter

Oct. 27, 2013 at 4:21 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of Philadelphia by the mother of Beatrice Weston, who was allegedly held captive by her aunt, attorneys say.

The lawsuit alleges the city lied to the mother about the welfare of her daughter, who was allegedly abused and found locked in a closet in 2011. Four mentally disabled adults were found locked in the basement.

Vickie Weston says was suffering from serious health issues when she put her 10-year-old daughter in the care of the girl's aunt, Linda Ann Weston. Beatrice, now 20, has said she was beaten, locked in closets and forced to prostitute herself.

Authorities allege Linda Ann Weston moved the five around the country, beating them and keeping them locked up in a plot to steal their Social Security benefits.

Beatrice Weston is also suing the city. She says she should not have been placed in the care of her aunt, who had been convicted in 1983 for starving a man to death in a closet.

Vickie Weston's lawyer, Emeka Igwe, said his client only agreed to leave her daughter in her sister's custody temporarily and when she tried to regain custody of her daughter, city workers lied to her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"They furthered the cover-up and the deception by giving her false reports," Igwe said. "I mean, they were actively telling her that her daughter was fine, that they were checking up on her, that she was going to school, when that wasn't the case at all."

Igwe said Beatrice Weston and Vickie Weston's lawsuits will likely be consolidated in federal court.

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