Note: we are republishing this story in light of recent reports that show child abuse has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. More on this here: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-08/study-confirms-rise-in-child-abuse-during-covid-pandemic
A Northern California teen who was tortured and chained to a fireplace for over a year finally got the revenge he deserved when he won a $4 million settlement.
The victim, known as Kyle, was beaten and starved for more than a year before escaping his captors in 2008 by hopping onto a trampoline and jumping over a fence while a shackle was still on his leg.
"Please, hide me, please, hide me," the then-16-year-old said to a witness, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In 2011, a civil lawsuit was filed on Kyle's behalf against the county of Sacramento, which was finally settled for $4 million. The lawsuit accused Sacramento County's Child Protective Services and its workers of negligence and violations of protocol in the years that led to the teen's imprisonment.
"We can only hope this lawsuit will bring changes to CPS. Our fear is that there are other 'Kyles' out there, suffering abuse that no child should ever endure," the teen's attorney, John Demas, said in a statement.
The woman who imprisoned Kyle, Caren Ramirez, was sentenced to 30+ years in prison for over a dozen felony convictions. Ramirez became Kyle's guardian when he was 8 years old after his biological mother left him in her care.
A CPS worker agreed to allow Ramirez to care for the boy despite not conducting a legally required investigation first. The lawsuit alleged that Ramirez was never given legal guardianship and that CPS failed to find other potential guardians or even contact the boy's mother.
Several reports of abuse and neglect followed, and Ramirez was finally arrested in 2007 -- Kyle was placed in protective custody. He was convinced to escape custody by Ramirez and went on to live in her friend's home. He escaped that home 18 months later.
Kyle was reportedly subjected to beatings with a hammer and a baseball bat, and was forced to urinate and defecate on himself.
Ramirez and the two people who captured Kyle were all given life sentences for their crimes.
"We are hopeful that this settlement will be beneficial to this young man," county spokeswoman Laura McCasland said in a statement.
Many readers expressed shock over the story, and sympathy toward the teen who was subjected to such abuse.
"So sorry for what these lowlife monsters did to you...hoping they get theirs behind bars !! I hope you have now found some happiness and love and you truly deserve this settlement...which hopefully helps others to never endure what you have," one reader commented on Facebook.
"So glad he escaped. So glad he got the help he so desperately needed. Praying he has healed & is finding the positives in life. He should have gotten $40 million," another wrote.
"$4,000,000.00 is all he gets? He deserves twice that for the nightmare he was forced to endure. The people who did this to him deserve life without parole!!!" another added.
Sources: Los Angeles Times