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Bond set for former Cape woman facing child abuse charges

By Staff | May 2, 2017

Bond has been set for a former Cape Coral woman who is facing multiple charges in Florida and Alabama, along with her husband, for allegedly abusing her foster and adopted children.

Jenise Rae Spurgeon, 54, is charged with 100 counts each of child abuse, enticing a child for immoral purposes and endangering the welfare of a child, along with 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking and one count of domestic violence by strangulation suffocation, out of Lauderdale County, Alabama.

She is also facing 10 counts of cruelty toward child aggravated child abuse in Lee County.

On April 18, Spurgeon had a bond hearing at the Lauderdale County Courthouse.

“Her bond was set at $2 million, with $500,000 of the bond being in cash,” Sgt. Brad Holmes, of the Florence Police Department in Alabama, said. “She’s not been able to post bond at this point.”

On Tuesday, Spurgeon re-mained in custody at the Lauder-dale County Detention Center.

“If released, she must surrender her passport,” he said, adding that she is not permitted to leave the state. “She is to have no contact with any former foster child, adopted child or any victim in the case.”

A preliminary court hearing for Spurgeon has been set for May 24.

In July, the Cape Coral Police Department contacted the Florence PD following an incident. An investigation led the CCPD to believe that abuse had occurred in Alabama while the family was living in Florence. Spurgeon and her husband, Daniel Wayne Spurgeon, were later indicted on charges.

As of Tuesday, Daniel Spurgeon, 48, remained in custody at the Lee County Jail.

He is facing 10 counts of cruelty toward child aggravated child abuse, along with five counts of lewd lascivious behavior victim 12 years or older younger than 16 years of age offender 18 years or older and one count of sexual assault by custodian sex battery victim 12 years of age under 18 years of age.

According to the Lee County Clerk, he has a case management conference set for June 21.

Holmes explained that the Florence PD’s warrants for Daniel Spurgeon remain active.

“The warrants have not been served,” he said. “We’re still awaiting some court action out of Florida.”

In Alabama, Daniel Spurgeon has been charged with 122 counts of child abuse, 115 counts of first-degree sexual abuse and 115 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, along with 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking, six counts of first-degree rape and six counts of incest, Holmes said.

He has also been charged with four counts each of sexual torture and first-degree sodomy, three counts of domestic violence by strangulation suffocation and two counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12.

Holmes explained that the Alabama district attorney is working with the Florida office. As soon as Daniel Spurgeon is released, the warrants will be served and he will be extradited to Alabama.

“We are ready and eager to present this case before a jury as quickly as possible, so we can begin the process of closure for the child victims,” he said.

As of Tuesday, 11 children – girls ages 11 to 17 – had been identified as victims.

“They were either foster children or adopted children,” Holmes said.

He added that none of the Spurgeons’ biological children appear to be victims.

“We have continued to work with other individuals and investigate,” Holmes said. “During the time that they (the Spurgeons) were in Alabama, there were substantially more children in the home.”

“We want to make sure we thoroughly investigate,” he added.

According to a report, Cape police responded on July 17 to the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 2210 S. Del Prado Blvd. about intoxicated juveniles. The officers made contact with three girls – ages 16, 13 and 13 – who explained that they lived nearby with their adopted-foster parents and several other siblings.

During the investigation, authorities learned that Daniel Spurgeon had given them alcohol to drink and “been physically and sexually abusing many of the minors living in his residence,” the report states.

Police learned that the couple lived with: five adopted daughters, ages 11 to 16; three foster daughters, ages 11 to 13; and two foster sons, ages 8 and 9; along with three biological children, ages 10 to 15.

The report states that at least four of the adopted-foster girls had been victims of sexual assault and molestation, and they were forced to perform oral sex on Daniel Spurgeon. One victim said there had been only one incident in Cape Coral, but there had been multiple incidents at their Alabama home.

A 19-year-old adopted daughter of the couple, who did not live in the home, came to the Cape when she learned of the investigation. She told police that if the girls alleged sexual abuse was occurring, she could confirm it was true. She stated that Daniel Spurgeon had molested her from the age of 12 to 16.

The Spurgeons were taken into custody and charged by the Cape police.

Following their arrests, the Florida Department of Children and Families stepped in.

DCF spokeswoman DaMonica Rivas Smith said on Thursday that the investigation is closed.

“All children are either in foster care or relative placement,” she said. “Additional information cannot be shared due to Florida confidentiality laws for victims of child abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

Officials previously reported that no Florida foster children were placed with the family.

According to Holmes, the 10 foster and adopted children were returned to Alabama.

“They were taken back into the custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources,” he said.

“All were placed in temporary, foster care situations,” Holmes added.

As of Tuesday, he did not have an update on the children.

Alabama DHR officials declined to comment on the case on Thursday.

“Federal and state confidentiality laws prohibit the release of information about specific child welfare cases,” Barry Spear, spokesman for the Alabama DHR, said. “I cannot confirm any DHR involvement.”

Spear previously reported that the Spurgeons were approved as foster parents in Alabama in 2004.

According to Holmes, news of the couple’s arrests shook the Florence community.

“There was a state of shock,” he said, noting that it is Lauderdale’s most far-reaching case. “There was a great deal of sadness because of what has been alleged to have happened to these children.”

“It’s a big deal,” Holmes added. “It’s a big deal in our community.”

He pointed out that it all came to light because one child was willing to come forward.

“If you know something or think you know something, don’t be afraid to come forward,” Holmes said.

Asked about the case, he described it as “very trying.”

“We’re extremely appreciative of the authorities in Florida for being willing to work with us,” Holmes said. “The cooperation of authorities was key to beginning the process of resolution for the victims.”

According to the CCPD report, the children described a pattern of living and physical abuse, administered by Spurgeon and his wife, and were treated differently than the biological children.

Food was kept separate between the two groups of children. While the biological children would receive three normal meals, the adopted-foster children would eat grits, bread, rice and beans.

Punishment for the children consisted of swimming laps in the pool or the canal behind their home, then being forced to take cold showers and smacked with spatulas. According to the report, they would be grabbed by their arms and then thrown into walls. One boy said he was smacked across the face.

Several of them reported being choked by their parents until they could not breathe.

Police also discovered that three of the girls were being forced to sleep on the outside lanai, where there was only one twin bed and a small sofa. A sheet was hung up to protect them from the elements.

During the medical exams, it was learned that most had not been to a doctor or dentist in years.