'Girl in the closet' who had been tortured and abused as a child by her parents arrested for sexual assault of 14-year-old girl
Lauren Kavanaugh, now 25-years-old, had been rescued as a child after suffering years of abuse at the hands of her parents but has now been arrested for sexual assault herself
A Texas woman who came to be known as the "Girl in the Closet" after her rescue in 2001 from abusive parents who tortured and raped her has now been arrested herself on charges of sexually assaulting a child. 25-year-old Lauren Kavanaugh is reportedly facing charges of sexual assault after it emerged she was having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
According to Dallas News, Lewisville Police received a tip that the victim had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh on Monday, December 17, with the girl confessing to authorities that she had been in a "sexual relationship" with the 25-year-old for two months.
Detectives said Kavanaugh had lured the victim through her Facebook page 'The Lauren Kavanaugh Story,' which she used to reach out to other victims of abuse to offer them her friendship and support. The page has since been taken down by the social network.
The 25-year-old then confessed to having the sexual relationship during an interview with investigators and was subsequently arrested. The victim's parents said Kavanaugh was staying with them at their home. The authorities did not provide any additional information about the case but revealed Kavanaugh was being held at the Denton County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
Kavanaugh became the subject of national attention in June 2001 when she was rescued from her family's home in Hutchins after being the victim of horrific abuse. It emerged that between the ages of two to eight, she had been forced to live in a 4 by 8 feet closet at the home and was starved, raped, and tortured by mother Barbara Atkinson and stepfather Kenneth Atkinson.
Her plight was brought to the attention of the authorities by a neighbor, and when she was finally rescued, she weighed a paltry 25.6 pounds. The Daily Mail reported that a doctor later testified the girl had been so badly sexually abused she needed surgery.
She was then adopted by Sabrina and Bill Kavanaugh, who had originally adopted her at birth but lost custody to the biological mother and stepfather — both of who are serving life sentences for felony injury to a child but will be eligible for parole in 2031 — on a legal technicality.
Lewisville Police believe Kavanaugh may have other victims as well and have urged parents of children who've been in contact with the 25-year-old to find if their child has had inappropriate contact with her.
Speaking to NBC, Rebekah Mullins, a licensed professional counselor intern at The Counseling Place in Richardson, explained why Kavanaugh had become an abuser herself. "Sometimes we see for victims of abuse, they go on and have difficulty with relationships or unhealthy relationships because they don't know how to have healthy relationships," she said.