NEW BOSTON, NH – A couple from New Hampshire, previously convicted on criminal charges for the alleged abuse of their adopted daughter, are now facing a lawsuit for purported violation of her 13th Amendment rights. The couple is accused of keeping their adopted daughter in a locked basement, subjecting her to years of abuse and “servitude.”
Olivia Atkocaitis, a 20-year-old native of China, reportedly escaped from a grimy “dungeon room” in 2018 when she was 15, using a bottle cap. The lawsuit, which was recently made public, details her harrowing experience.
Atkocaitis was adopted from China under the “one-child policy” when she was just 14 months old. According to the lawsuit, her adoptive parents, Thomas and Denise, would regularly lock her in an 8-foot by 8-foot room for extended periods.
The conditions in the room were harsh, with a vinyl twin mattress without sheets, no heat, ventilation, or running water. The window was allegedly covered with chicken wire, and she was forced to use a bucket for her bodily needs.
Atkocaitis alleges that by the age of 3, she was subjected to physical and mental abuse by her adoptive parents. They reportedly withheld food and health care and didn’t allow her to attend school with their three biological children.
The lawsuit also alleges that Atkocaitis was tied up with a dog leash and repeatedly threatened with deportation. At one point, she was forced to stand in a bathtub while her adoptive parents poured hot sauce down her throat and subsequently made her eat her own vomit.
The abuse was reported to the New Boston Police Department and a local school in 2011 by one of Atkocaitis’ siblings. Despite this, the state Division of Children, Youth and Families was notified, but Atkocaitis was never removed from the home.
Earlier this month, a Merrimack County Superior Court judge denied the parents’ pleas for the case to be dismissed. The couple, who have since moved to Georgia, argued they were not properly served, that the court lacked jurisdiction over them, and that the statute of limitations had passed.
Atkocaitis is now studying psychology at Plymouth State University. Her attorney, Michael S. Lewis, stated that the goal of the lawsuit is to achieve “emancipation” for Atkocaitis.