Officer implicated in Turpin child abuse case faces public appeals asking California state to suspend or revoke his real estate license.
Vanessa Espinoza was a former Deputy Public Guardian tasked with helping Turpin’s seven oldest children navigate life after escaping from their parents’ abusive home. She also worked part-time in real estate during this period, ABC News reports.
Now Espinoza is the subject of a new change.org petition who is asking the California Department of Real Estate to investigate whether she has done enough to meet the needs of older Turpins as she juggles those responsibilities and her career in real estate.
The petition surfaced after a recent ABC News “20/20” report detailed the conditions under which the 13 Turpin children were forced to live by their parents – including years of isolation, physical abuse and neglect, with limited access to food or toilet. clothes. The report also described their difficulty in finding safe housing and other services in the years following their rescue.
Espinoza was part of this larger effort to help the Turpin siblings and help them achieve a sense of normalcy and security they never experienced in their parents’ home.
But some of the grown children said Espinoza was unwilling to answer even basic questions to help them adjust to life outside those gates, including how to use public transport or cross the street. safely.
“She would just say to me, ‘Just go to Google,'” Joshua Turpin, one of the older siblings in the family, told ABC News.
Espinoza did not immediately return a phone call from Inman requesting comment.
In its first three days, the online petition garnered more than 1,300 signatures in favor of removing Espinoza from its real estate license, or at least suspending it.
“[Espinoza’s] the lack of professionalism and dereliction of duty in his work with the Turpins and Riverside County suggests unethical and dishonest traits that may hamper his responsibilities in real estate, ”the petition states.
The California Real Estate Department did not immediately respond to an email from Inman asking if Espinoza’s license was under review.
Prior to his time with the Turpins, Espinoza worked for the law firm of Jack Osborn, the court-appointed lawyer for adult children.
She left Osborn’s cabinet for the position of Public Guardian, according to ABC News. This business relationship was leaked to court, Osborn told the outlet.
Espinoza’s real estate work includes time with Century 21, according to his corporate Facebook page. It was not known with which brokerage, if any, she is working now.
Espinoza has not worked for the Office of the Public Guardian since Aug.21, a county spokeswoman told ABC News.
In its report, the outlet said Espinoza did not respond to repeated requests for comment and avoided their cameras on one occasion.
The children’s parents, David and Louise Turpin, pleaded guilty in 2019 to 14 counts and are serving life sentences. The charges ranged from cruelty to children to torture and forcible confinement.
Authorities learned of the abuse in 2018 when Jordan Turpin, then 17, came out of a window and called 9-1-1 on a cell phone to report that three of his siblings were chained to the House. Police arrived at the house to find the other children bruised, malnourished and unwashed. Seven of them were over 18 at the time.
The children had not been to school and had virtually no contact with strangers or the outside world. Concepts like medicine were foreign to Jordan during his first conversation with the police, which was captured by a department camera.
In the years since their release from home, some of the Turpin children have struggled to find suitable housing and other services, ABC News reported.
“Have we seen children sometimes not having a safe place to live or stay? Yes. Did they have enough food at times? They didn’t, ”Riverside County director of victim services Melissa Donaldson told the news agency. “They had to go to churches and eat because they didn’t know how to handle their money… and some were homeless sometimes. “
Email Daniel Houston