New Boston, New Hampshire – A couple from New Hampshire who allegedly subjected their adopted daughter to years of abuse and confinement now face a lawsuit for violating the 13th Amendment rights of the young woman. Olivia Atkocaitis, a native of China now aged 20, claimed to have escaped from a locked basement in 2018 at the age of 15 after enduring prolonged mistreatment.
According to court documents, Atkocaitis was regularly confined to a small, windowless room described as a “dungeon room” for extended periods of time. In this room, Atkocaitis slept on an inadequate mattress and lacked basic amenities such as heat, ventilation, and running water. The lawsuit alleges that she was physically and mentally abused from as early as three years old, as her adoptive parents withheld food and healthcare and prevented her from attending school with their biological children.
Atkocaitis claims that she was often tied up with a dog leash and was threatened with deportation if she did not comply with her adoptive parents’ demands. Additionally, she claims her parents forced her to stand in a bathtub while they poured hot sauce down her throat and then forced her to eat her own vomit. The abuse caused immense emotional distress, leading Atkocaitis to harbor feelings of self-doubt and believe she was unwanted.
The lawsuit targets not only Thomas and Denise Atkocaitis, the adoptive parents, but also the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the School District, the Police Department, and the town. These entities are accused of enabling the continued mistreatment and slavery that Atkocaitis allegedly endured for 14 years.
The adoptive parents attempted to have the case dismissed on the grounds of improper service, lack of jurisdiction, and expired statutes of limitations. However, a judge recently denied their request. The dismissal of charges against individual police officers and social workers involved in the case is still being considered.
Attorney Michael S. Lewis, representing Atkocaitis, underscores the context of the lawsuit, claiming that the facts reveal the continued existence of slavery in modern society, particularly highlighting the exploitation of a minority race and an individual from another country. Atkocaitis hopes that seeking justice through this lawsuit will provide her with emancipation and help her navigate the path toward healing.
At present, Olivia Atkocaitis is studying psychology at Plymouth State University as she continues to cope and recover from the traumatic experiences she endured.