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‘House of horrors’ survivor Jordan Turpin speaks out following lawsuits alleging abuse by foster parents

“I was very traumatized, and it’s been a very scary journey,” Turpin, 21, told People.
The six youngest of the 13 Turpin siblings recently filed a pair of lawsuits against foster care agencies and a Southern California county, claiming abuse by foster parents.
The six youngest of the 13 Turpin siblings recently filed a pair of lawsuits against foster care agencies and a Southern California county, claiming abuse by foster parents.TODAY
/ Source: TODAY

Jordan Turpin, one of the 13 siblings rescued from a California “house of horrors” in January 2018 who later with other siblings filed lawsuits alleging they were abused by their foster parents, is speaking out about her ordeal with her foster parents.

“I’m not ready to go into details about what happened to me in that home. I was very traumatized, and it’s been a very scary journey,” she told People. “It was really hard to understand the first situation (with my parents). Then going into another, that was just really, really hard. You have all these questions and you just don’t get the answer.”

David and Louise Turpin were sentenced to life in prison in 2019 after pleading guilty to 14 counts each of torture, dependent adult abuse, child endangerment and false imprisonment.

Jordan Turpin and five siblings recently filed a pair of lawsuits, claiming they were abused by foster parents after they were removed from the Perris, California, home of their biological parents.

Riverside County, ChildNet Youth and Family Services and the Foster Family Network are named as defendants in the lawsuits, which were filed by attorneys Elan Zektser and Roger Booth.

People

It’s unclear what financial compensation the siblings are seeking in their lawsuits, which allege the foster parents abused them by “grabbing and fondling their buttocks, legs and breasts, kissing them on the mouth and making sexually suggestive comments.” The suits also accuse the foster parents of physical abuse and threatening to send the children back to their biological parents.

“We look forward to providing the facts at the appropriate time in court,” ChildNet’s Brett Lewis told NBC News last week in response to the lawsuits. “Our agency has been serving California’s most vulnerable, traumatized youth for over 50 years. We have a strong track record of providing excellent care and continue to demonstrate our commitment to these children.”

“We deeply care about the safety and wellbeing of every single child under our care,” Riverside County spokesperson Gene Kennedy told NBC News.

“Our hearts go out to the Turpin siblings. Any instance when a child is harmed is heartbreaking,” he continued. “We continue to evaluate our practices with a critical eye and are committed to understanding and addressing the root cause. This includes expanding the availability of quality and safe placements for all children in foster care.”

Turpin, 21, has moved on with her life, even getting her own apartment.

“At first it was scary. It’s expensive, and you’re not aware of how much you’re gonna need,” Turpin said. “But I love design and decorating, and I’m a very organized person.”

She also said she’s trying to embrace the idea she is on her own now.

“Sometimes I walk into my apartment and literally think, ‘Is this real?’ I’m more independent and can just be myself. This is everything I ever wanted,” she said. “I’ve been feeling like my life is about to actually start.”

Turpin also said she has not spoken to her parents in years and has no plans to open up the lines of communication.

“I still have nightmares. I can’t imagine if I ever kept in contact with them,” she said. “There’s no way I would be able to heal.”

Turpin did not attend school in a school building until she was 18 and discovered a whole new world.

“It was so cool because I’ve never been around people my age other than my siblings,” she said. “I made friends within two weeks. Every time someone would ask me questions (about my past), they’d say, ‘She’s too shy. She won’t answer!’ I loved it.”

Before her foster parents were arrested in March 2021, Turpin was put in a different foster home, where she said she was separated from her younger siblings. She enrolled in college, but still dealt with depression.

“It was impossible to sleep. Every time my eyes would close, I dreamed about being (in my first foster home),” she said. “I had to go to the emergency room a lot. I was really, really broken.”

Turpin also said she and her brothers and sisters remain tight.

“After everything that happened, and after escaping, I’m so protective over each one. They always know they have me.”

She hopes to write a memoir and become a motivational speaker.

“I want to take what I went through and turn it into something positive,” she said. “I want people to know they’re not alone. There is a way out.”