FLORENCE, Ala. — Jenise Spurgeon is set to go on trial in Lauderdale County on August 16.
She and her husband Daniel Spurgeon were foster parents approved by the Alabama Department of Human Resources in 2004. The couple lived in Florence until 2015 when they relocated to Florida.
It was there that an investigation began into the couple after law enforcement said three teens in their care were found intoxicated in a Cape Coral fast-food restaurant. The investigation uncovered accounts of molestation, physical abuse, and torture.
Attorney Tommy James represents seven of the victims in civil cases against the Spurgeons as well as DHR, with James saying that employees were negligent to reports of abuse.
“What these victims went through is unimaginable,” James said. “It’s unspeakable the things that the Spurgeons did to them. They’ll never be the same; they are affected by this every day. They can’t sleep, they have problems in their lives that you just can’t imagine.”
The trial was originally set to begin in August of 2020 but was postponed. James said Judge Gil Self has cleared two weeks for the criminal trial, the judge commenting that “this one needs to be brought to a head.”
In the forthcoming civil cases, James said he’s suing DHR for $ 175 million—that’s $25 million for each victim he’s representing.
“We ask for so much money in these cases because we do want to send a message,” James said. “We want to send a message to the public, we want to send a message to the governor, and the attorney general that something must be done with DHR because right now, it’s a catastrophic failure. There are cases of abuse and neglect going on all across our state and I’ve got way too many of them.”
James said he and the victims want to see that nothing like this happens to another child in Alabama ever again.
Daniel Spurgeon is serving a 25-year sentence without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to two counts of child rape, one count of sexual torture, and eleven counts of aggravated child abuse.