Settlement reached in extreme child abuse case

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - A South Florida law firm, representing 10 special needs children, has reached a partial financial settlement Monday involving a former adoptive mother convicted of extreme child abuse.

The case unfolded in Port St. Lucie five years ago. Judith Leekin was sentenced in 2009 to 20 years in prison.

Authorities say she beat, burned, stabbed and starved her adopted children -- using zip ties and handcuffs to keep them all locked in a room together.

Leekin adopted the children in New York and brought them to Port St. Lucie in 1998. "Remember when these kids were found, they couldn't tell time, make change, had never been to school? They didn't get a very good start in life," said Attorney Ted Babbit.

The attorney, representing the 10 children, settled with New York City for $9.7 million in federal court.

The suit claims Leekin collected more than a million dollars in adoption subsidies.

Attorneys hope to eventually set a trial date for the remaining portion of the lawsuit.

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