State sued for more than $100 million, accused of failing to protect foster children from torture, sexual abuse, starvation

Published 8:32 am Friday, February 21, 2020

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — A lawyer is seeking millions of dollars in damages for four children who were fostered or adopted by a couple accused of child abuse in Alabama and Florida.

The cases involve Daniel and Jenise Spurgeon, who cared for about 50 children over the years as they lived in Florence, Alabama, and then Cape Coral, Florida, news outlets reported.

Daniel Spurgeon was sentenced in Alabama last August to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse, sexual abuse and torture charges involving children that he and his wife adopted or fostered. Jenise Spurgeon awaits trial in Alabama in April on charges she physically abused several of the children. The couple also is expected in a Florida court on March 5 to face charges there.

Birmingham attorney Tommy James has sued the couple and the Alabama Department of Human Resources on behalf of four of the children, claiming state workers didn’t act or properly investigate when they learned that the children were being abused and neglected.

“They ignored clear and repeated signs of child abuse and neglect that resulted in emotional and physical consequences that my clients will live with forever,” James said in a news release after filing the lawsuits on Thursday in Lauderdale County, Alabama. The lawsuits seek $25 million for each plaintiff as well as changes within the state human resources agency.

A spokesman for the Alabama agency declined to comment, citing pending litigation, news outlets reported.