LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (TCD) -- A woman accused of abusing several of her foster children pleaded guilty during a virtual hearing Feb. 1.
The Fort Myers News-Press reports Jenise Spurgeon entered the plea for 11 counts of aggravated child abuse. Her trial was originally supposed to start Feb. 7, but she waived her rights to it. She will reportedly serve 15 years in prison. The 11 counts of abuse relate to 11 total victims "who were either in the care of or the adoptive children of the Spurgeons at the time the abuse occurred."
The Florence Police Department announced March 8, 2017, that Daniel and Jenise were arrested by Cape Coral Police in Florida on outstanding warrants from their department. The warrants reportedly related to sexual abuse allegations against the couple, according to the Florence Police Department. The Cape Coral Police Department reportedly contacted Florence police in July 2016 and said they believed "abuse had occurred in Alabama while the couple lived in the Florence area."
The News-Press reports the Cape Coral incident relates to an incident when some of the children were allegedly found drunk inside of a local restaurant. One of the children reportedly informed Cape Coral Police about the abuse.
Florence Police said at the time Jenise was initially arrested on 100 counts of child abuse, one count of domestic violence by strangulation and/or suffocation, 11 counts of human trafficking, 100 counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and 100 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes.
Daniel Spurgeon was arrested on two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12, 115 counts of first-degree sexual abuse, 122 counts of child abuse, four counts of first-degree sodomy, four counts of sexual torture, three counts of domestic violence by strangulation and/or suffocation, six counts of first-degree rape, 115 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, six counts of incest, and 11 counts of human trafficking.
According to WHNT-TV, he pleaded guilty in 2019 to two counts of child rape, one count of sexual torture, and 11 counts of aggravated child abuse. He is serving 25 years in prison.
Some of the victims have filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Spurgeons and Alabama Department of Human Resources. The victims' attorney Tommy James said, "Mrs. Spurgeon willingly participated in the abuse of these children and she deserves punishment. Now DHR needs to answer for failing these children. It is incomprehensible this abuse continued for years right under the noses of DHR workers."
Jones' statement continued, "My clients suffered unimaginable consequences because the people at DHR did not do their jobs. It is appalling they allowed this to happen."