Maria Gonzales Esquivel, 74, has been accused of torturing, whipping and beating her six children beyond recognition. She has been in jail since August after one of the children finally managed to go to the police. The children are suing the Seattle Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), who they allege did not act on their behalf.
"Esquivel's sadistic acts of torture and abuse of these children defies comprehension," prosecutor Julie Kays told the court according to Seattlepi.com. "The children were literally living in a house of horrors, and DSHS failed to protect the children from this horrific abuse."
According to reports, the six children, who range in age from 7 to 19, were starved, tortured, and beaten beyond recognition. Investigators allege that Esquivel "doused one girl's genitals with pure alcohol," and forced the children to fight one another while in her care.
There were over 17 complaints filed on behalf of the children by their counselors, teachers and friends. Yet nothing was done by DSHS, which led to the children receiving more brutality at the hands of Esquivel.
"You had countless concerned citizens … calling CPS (Child Protective Services) and reporting suspicions of abuse," Kays said. "When you get a referral, you've gotta stop, you've got to listen, and you've got to investigate. They completely dropped the ball."
"The known assaults in this case have resulted in closed head injuries, contusions, scalp lacerations, leg edemas, a macerated (or) swollen penis, broken fingers, eyes swollen shut, facial lacerations, a broken rib that punctured a lung, a detached retina, broken noses, and at least two surgeries," prosecutor Christina Miyamasu reported.
Esquivel faces five charges of assault, and that case is currently pending. Now, though, DSHS has been named in a new suit for their lack of action. While an amount is unknown, Kays has said that her clients hope the lawsuit will bring attention to the plight of those who need help.
"If we can make sure this doesn't have to happen to other kids, that is justice for them. They're little guys and little gals, but I know they wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else," she explained.
The children are currently living in loving, nurturing homes after being taken from their mother's custody.