WASHINGTON - A Damascus woman is accused of abusing her six adopted children in a case that stretches back years.
Lora Loethen now faces more than a dozen charges, including child abuse, assault, and neglect.
"It’s a big deal. It’s horrible," said Debbie Feinstein, who’s the chief of the Special Victim’s Unit for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. "Hopefully we’re going to bring this woman to justice."
In court documents, prosecutors said an investigation into Loethen began in March, when one of Loethen’s kids told a friend’s parent that "she did not feel safe going home." The child would later tell police "that Loethen has been abusing and beating her since she came into this country approximately seven years ago."
Further investigation revealed that between August 2021 and March 2023, police "had been dispatched to incidents involving the family more than 65 times and had written more than 30 police reports," mostly involving children running away.
The court documents also state that as far back as the end of 2021, one of the children told police, "Loethen is verbally and physically abusive which is why he runs away."
Other alleged incidents include one from May 2022, when two of the children showed up at the Damascus Fire Station, with one of them telling medics, "he had left home on Monday and had barely eaten or drank over the previous 4 days."
One of the children would also later tell police, "Loethen has hit her, thrown her down the stairs, kicked her, shoved her, slapped her, spit on her," and more.
"These children were clearly living in an environment that was scary and unsafe, and they’re young kids, and it’s our job to protect them," Feinstein said Wednesday.
FOX 5 contacted the Montgomery County Police Department to ask why the kids hadn’t been removed from Loethen’s care sooner. A police department spokesperson said in part, "CPS is the one to make the call to remove the children from the home, not police. There were allegations of assault, but not probable cause to make an arrest."
Efforts to reach Child Protective Services Wednesday night weren’t immediately successful.
Loethen is currently being held without bond.