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By Elisha Fieldstadt
A Texas woman once known as “the girl in the closet” after she was rescued at age 8 from years of sexual and physical abuse has been charged with sexual assault of a child, police said Wednesday.
The woman, Lauren Kavanaugh, was arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, police in Lewisville, Texas, said in a statement. Detectives said Kavanaugh admitted to having a relationship with the teen.
The girl met Kavanaugh, 25, on a Facebook page called “The Lauren Kavanaugh Story” that Kavanaugh set up as a support group for victims of abuse, investigators said.
The victim told police that the two had been in a sexual relationship for two months, and the victim’s parents said Kavanaugh was living with them.
Police confirmed that the suspect is the same Lauren Kavanaugh who was sexually abused, denied food and held captive in a mobile home closet for six years by her mother and stepfather before she was rescued in 2001.
Kavanaugh told her story to The Dallas Morning News in 2013, bringing back into the spotlight the harrowing story that led to her emergence from a trailer in Hutchins, Texas, at 8 years old weighing less than 26 pounds.
The Morning News reported then that Kavanaugh had graduated high school at 20, enrolled in community college and was living with her adoptive mother.
Lewisville police said they are concerned other children may have been victimized by Kavanaugh and asked parents to talk to their children to find out if they also had contact with her online or otherwise. They said they first received the tip about the alleged 14-year-old victim on Monday.
Kavanaugh is being held on a $10,000 bond at the Denton County Jail.