The 20-year-old niece of alleged Tacony Dungeon ringleader Linda Ann Weston has sued the City of Philadelphia and two of its employees, seeking compensation for a decade of childhood abuse that she allegedly suffered while in her aunt’s legal custody.
Plaintiff Beatrice Weston also named her aunt as a defendant in the Aug. 20 Common Pleas Court filing. Linda Ann Weston, 51, is a prisoner at the city’s Riverside Correctional Facility while awaiting trial on criminal charges of kidnapping, assault, false imprisonment, conspiracy and related offenses.
In the civil lawsuit, Beatrice Weston alleges that she was “forcibly prostituted” by her aunt and “was regularly beaten, starved and denied medical and dental care, as well as formal schooling.”
The suit blames the city, along with Department of Human Services caseworker Nefertiti Savoy and Assistant City Solicitor Richard Ames, with recommending that the young Beatrice Weston be placed in her aunt’s custody despite the older woman’s third-degree murder conviction.
In 1981, the suit states, Linda Ann Weston imprisoned, tortured and beat her sister’s boyfriend with a hammer, then starved him to death. Linda Ann Weston was convicted of the killing in 1983 and served prison time.
Yet, in 2002, the suit states, the defendants failed to investigate Linda Ann Weston’s criminal past and failed to notify a Family Court judge of the murder conviction during a custody hearing involving Beatrice Weston, then 10. Instead, Savoy and Ames recommended that the court place Beatrice with her aunt.
Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law prohibits a convicted murderer from taking custody of a child, according to the lawsuit.
After the court awarded conditional “temporary” custody to Linda Ann Weston, the defendants failed to conduct “appropriate behavior and health evaluations” of Beatrice and “arrange for appropriate interventions as needed,” the lawsuit states.
The city’s Law Department is aware of Beatrice Weston’s legal action, but has not been served with the suit and has declined to discuss it, said Deputy City Solicitor Craig Straw. The suit does not seek specific monetary damages.
During a preliminary hearing last December in Linda Ann Weston’s criminal case, a mentally challenged man testified that Linda Ann Weston orchestrated a scheme to steal his Social Security benefits and those of other disabled people by holding them captive, taking them from state to state, abusing them physically and forcing them to name her as their legal care-provider.
Linda Ann Weston’s boyfriend, Gregory Thomas; her adult daughter, Jean McIntosh; and a self-described “street preacher” named Eddie Wright are co-defendants in the case.
Police uncovered the alleged abuse last October when, responding to complaints about a barking dog, they found four mentally challenged and malnourished adults locked in the utility basement of a Tacony apartment building. They rescued Beatrice Weston from a locked closet in one of the apartments.Linda Ann Weston and the co-defendants are scheduled to stand trial in January. ••EndFragment