Right after the UK-based Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) issued a warning report about a rise in live streaming and the number of indecent images of children posted by offenders online, a court sentenced an Australian man to 40 years in prison and ordered him to pay 40,000 USD (1.33 million Roubles. 31,000 Euros. 26,500 UK Pounds) in restitution for trafficking his eight-year old adopted Russian son to paedophiles around the world. Mark Newton, a dual American/Australian citizen, and his Australian partner, “bought” the boy for 8,000 USD (265,000 Roubles. 6,200 Euros. 5,300 UK Pounds) from a Russian woman. In their bid to adopt, the couple travelled to Russia, the top American-adopters destination, and found a woman who they paid for granting them sole custody of the boy right after his birth. Police claim to have evidence that the boy called Adam suffered abuse since he was two.
The police arrested the perps in 2011 after New Zealand authorities discovered that they used the boy in child pornography; the cops raided the couple’s homes in Australia and in California, and found evidence. Police sources say that the couple took the child around the world, including the USA, Australia, France, and Germany where numerous men abused him, adding that the offenders also recorded the abuse and uploaded the footage online. US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker claimed that the couple deserved a harsher punishment. The abuse case will probably impel Russia to set even-tougher standards on foreign adoptions. On 3 July, President Vladimir Putin signed a law sharply limiting the adoption of Russian children by people from countries that allow same-sex marriage. The new law bans adoption by same-sex couples whose homeland recognises their union as marriage, as well as by single people or common-law couples from those countries.
VOR senior producer Andrew Hiller examined just what happened and what went wrong with Diane Black of BMT Counselling, who’s worked on many abuse cases involving international adoption, several of which dealt with Russian children. Fist of all, Diane agreed with Judge Barker that the sentence was too light, as “no sentence could be too harsh in a hideous situation like this”. Diane also told VOR that the abuse became possible due to a number of paedophilia rings uniting offenders throughout the world. Diane explained that these people don’t consider their behaviour as a disorder, they try to justify it as ordinary conduct, getting support from each other. She added that it’s also much easier to conceal abuse of children adopted overseas as they lack connections with their homeland.
In this regard, Ms Black called for Russian adoptees to have contact with people from their country to know that there are people who care about them and that they aren’t forgotten. In some cases, this could be Russian diplomats, who’re sometimes denied access to kids by local authorities in the USA. Ms Black also mentioned the necessity of a pre-adoption psychological evaluation of future parents as well as all adults in a kid’s new home. Diane illustrated the point by telling a story of three Russian kids that were recently placed in “an awful place” due to poorly-conducted home study. A possible solution could be regular studies conducted by several professionals, with a psychologist among them, not just a single social worker. Diane also called for regular weekly post-adoption checks, concluding, “Anyone who ignores the best interest of a child is guilty”, saying that all similar situations are preventable by doing simple things and following a single procedure that should be streamlined standard for all states.
4 July 2013
Voice of Russia World Service