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Child sexual assault charges are dropped against ‘The Girl in the Closet’

Child sexual assault charges are DROPPED against woman, 28, who became famous as ‘The Girl in the Closet’ who suffered years of starvation and torture by parents – two years after she was indicted for abusing a 14-year-old girl

  • Lauren Kavanaugh had three charges of child sexual abuse dismissed against her in Texas, nearly three years after her arrest
  • Kavanaugh, 28, was released from jail on October 6 
  • Denton County DA did not explain why the charges were dropped 
  • Kavanaugh was previously found to be mentally unfit to stand trial and committed to a mental health facility 
  • She was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl she met on Facebook sometimes in 2017 
  • From age two until age eight, Kavanaugh was kept in a feces-smeared closet in her Texas mobile home 
  • Kavanaugh was rescued in 2001, earning her the nickname ‘Girl in the Closet’  


A Texas woman known as the ‘Girl in the Closet’ after she was rescued from a filthy cupboard as a child, was released from jail last week when child sexual assault charges against her were dismissed.

The Denton County District Attorney’s Office has not explained why prosecutors made the decision to drop three felony counts on which 28-year-old Lauren Kavanaugh was indicted in 2019. 

She previously was found incompetent to stand trial and was ordered committed to a mental health facility. 

A spokesperson for the DA did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment Monday morning. 

She was rescued from horrific captivity in 2001

Lauren Kavanaugh, known as ‘The Girl in The Closet,’ had three charges of child sexual abuse dismissed against her in Texas. She was rescued from horrific captivity in 2001 (right)

Court records indicate that prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the counts Tuesday. A judge closed the case within hours, clearing the way for Kavanaugh’s release the next day, reported The Dallas Morning News. 

Kavanaugh had faced up to 20 years in prison on each charge.

She made national headlines in 2001 when she was rescued from her family’s mobile home after years of horrific physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather. Dubbed ‘The Girl in The Closet,’ Kavanaugh, who was eight at the time, weighed just over 25lbs at the time.

Kavanaugh was arrested in December 2018, after a 14-year-old girl told police that she had been in a sexual relationship with the woman for two months. 

Kavanaugh was arrested in 2018, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl she met in a Facebook group

Kavanaugh was arrested in 2018, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl she met in a Facebook group 

The pair met through a Facebook account called ‘The Lauren Kavanaugh Story’ where Kavanaugh offered support and friendship to victims of abuse, according to detectives. That page has since been taken down.

Kavanaugh and the teen allegedly got into a relationship and the victim’s parents said that Kavanaugh was living with them, according to NBC. 

When interviewed by police, Kavanaugh initially claimed that she and the teen were ‘just friends,’ but then admitted to having a sexually explicit conversation with the girl on Facebook. 

‘Lauren also said that was the only time and that she was sorry and learned her lesson,’ a detective wrote in an affidavit. 

When asked if she was involved in a sexual relationship with the minor, Kavanaugh challenged the cop to arrest her and refused to make any further statements. 

As a child, Kavanaugh was starved, tortured, and raped in a 4 by 8 feet closet (above) by her mother and stepfather who are now serving life in prison sentences

As a child, Kavanaugh was starved, tortured, and raped in a 4 by 8 feet closet (above) by her mother and stepfather who are now serving life in prison sentences

The closet that Kavanaugh called 'home' for six years was covered with feces and strewn with trash (above)

The closet that Kavanaugh called ‘home’ for six years was covered with feces and strewn with trash (above) 

Barbara Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson

Lauren’s mother Barbara Atkinson (left) and stepfather Kenny Atkinson (right) were convicted of felony injury to a child in 2002 and jailed for life, not eligible for parole until 2031

While in jail, Kavanaugh racked up additional charges for allegedly assaulting corrections officers, but the district attorney’s office declined to prosecute her. 

In September 2020, a judge ordered Kavanaugh committed to a mental health institution to restore her competency so she could potentially stand trial. 

The judge ordered a mental health evaluation this past August, the results of which have not been made public.  

Between the ages of two and eight, Kavanaugh was confined to a 4-by-8-foot feces-smeared closet, and was starved, raped and tortured by her mother, Barbara Atkinson, and stepfather, Kenneth Atkinson.

A doctor later testified the little girl had been sexually abused so badly that she needed surgery, according to People Magazine.

The Atkinson couple are serving life sentences for felony injury to a child and will be eligible for parole in 2031.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk