Woman sues adoptive parents, claiming they kept her in dungeon

NEW BOSTON, N.H. — A 19-year-old woman who said her adoptive parents kept her in a dungeon and enslaved her in their New Hampshire home is suing the couple and the police who said they saved her.

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The Union Leader reported that Olivia Atkocaitis was adopted by Thomas Atkocaitis and Denise Atkocaitis when Olivia was an infant.

Olivia said the couple kept her in a basement and abused her from when she was 3 years old, WMUR reported.

According to the lawsuit, Olivia claims she was chained to a metal column with a dog leash and then later kept confined in an 8-foot by 8-foot room described as a dungeon. She was locked in there for days, with only a bucket to relieve herself, and fed once a day, if that, according to WMUR.

WFXT reported in 2018 that the room was lit from a window that was covered with wire mesh.

It contained a mattress and a door with an alarm that sounded when the door was opened, NHPR reported.

One of her siblings reported to a school counselor what the lawsuit called, “enslavement.”

Her lawyer said that Olivia Atkocaitis tore the drywall in the room to escape in September 2018, The Union Leader reported. It was one of several escape attempts, WMUR reported.

She was 15 at the time of the escape, NHPR reported.

New Boston police used police dogs to find her but she was not returned to the family. However, what happened after she was found has been redacted in official reports, the newspaper reported.

Thomas and Denise Atkocaitis were arrested in 2018 after a two-month-long investigation and were charged with criminal restraint, kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child, WFXT reported at the time.

The Union Leader reported that Denise Atkocaitis pleaded guilty to felony criminal restraint, but served no jail time and now lives in Georgia. Thomas Atkocaitis pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment. He served six months in jail and now lives in Maine.

The couple claimed they did what they did to prevent their daughter from committing animal cruelty, property destruction or harming others, the newspaper reported.

Olivia Atkocaitis’ attorney, Michael Lewis, has filed suit against her adoptive parents; New Boston Police Department; New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families; the school district and a Massachusetts adoption agency, claiming they did not do enough to protect his client.

The lawsuit was filed this week in Merrimack Superior Court this week, NHPR reported.

“Her life was a nightmare, in that she was treated in the most vile fashion,” Lewis said, according to WMUR. “And as the lawsuit indicates, the people who should have protected her didn’t. And it’s shocking.”

The lawsuit said that when Olivia Atkocaitis escaped multiple times, police returned her to her home, WMUR reported.

“The police actually went into the home and documented the dungeon that Olivia was living in, but Olivia remained there for the next seven years,” Lewis said, according to the television station.

The attorney representing New Bedford said that the police department denies the allegations and that their investigation “ultimately led to the removal of the plaintiff from the home and (from the) conditions her adopted parents subjected her to,” Michael Courtney wrote in an email to The Union Leader.

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