On Monday, September 23, a multi-million dollar case against Delaware County Department of Human Services has been settled for an undisclosed amount.
The case began in 2017 when it was discovered that nine foster children were tortured by their foster mother, Deidre Matthews for years. In rural Delaware County, Matthews fostered the children in a two-bedroom mobile home that was filled with feces, cockroaches and vermin. Matthews tortured the children, the foster father did not intervene.
One child was forced to kill her kitten by bashing the pet's head into a tree. Another was handcuffed and put into a dog cage. The children were forced to stand outside or walk about naked, to miss school to avoid educators finding bruises, welts or wounds. Three of the younger children overdosed on prescription drugs. One broke an ankle trying to avoid a beating by escaping through a window. Two of the children were bitten by monkeys, as Matthews had ten in the home.
The same year, Matthews pled guilty to 12 counts of child abuse, child neglect and child endangerment and was ordered by the court to serve four years.
The trial was scheduled for Monday, September 30 in Jay.
“It’s a tough call,” said Darren Cook, attorney for the nine children. “After discussing the issues with the children, we felt that it was more beneficial to settle now rather than five to 10 years from now... There is no way any amount of money can help these children with the abuse they suffered."
Previously, Matthews and her former husband, Jerry, were recognized that as the Department of Human Services Adoptive Parents of the Year for northeast Oklahoma in 2006. Jerry, pled no contest to two counts of child neglect, resulting in a suspended life sentence for testifying against his former wife.
Both Deirdre and Jerry have been ordered to keep away from the victims. After Deirdre's time in prison, she will be on probation and prohibited from having custody of children or children living in the home.