Entries in Child Abuse (5)


Russia Protests Latest Adoption Abuse Case in Virginia

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- The Russian government is seizing on the case of an adopted Russian boy in Virginia whose foster parents were arrested last week for allegedly abusing him -- the latest in a string of abuses that have gotten a lot of attention in Russia.

Russia's Foreign Ministry warned Thursday that the incident could stall efforts to implement a new adoption agreement with the United States, which was only recently ratified by Russia's State Duma; the ministry said the incident called into question the American readiness to implement the deal.

"We demand to finally bring order to this area. Will depend on the completion of procedures necessary for entry into force of this Treaty, and the possibility of our further cooperation in the field of adoption," a foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

This latest case involves 8-year-old Daniel Krichun who was living in Bristow, Va., and was adopted in 2006 by Matthew and Amy Sweeney, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. On July 19, the boy knocked on the door of a home near his house and said he was lost. The couple who answered gave him something to eat and noticed he had a lot of bruises on his body. The next day authorities arrested the Sweeneys after police inspected the boy and determined that he had been, according to Russian news reports, "regularly exposed to domestic violence."

The Sweeneys have reportedly been charged with child abuse and released on $40,000 bail.

The Kremlin has paid close attention to the welfare of adopted Russian children in the United States ever since a Tennessee woman put her young adopted son on a plane to Russia with little more than a letter saying she didn't want him anymore.

But there are also signs recently that the subject of adoptions to the United States has become politicized, an effort to strike an anti-American and nationalist tone at a time when it plays well for domestic politics and distracts from Russia's protest movement.

Russian officials, with a Russian television news crew, recently descended on a ranch for adopted kids in Montana, claiming it was a, "trash can for unwanted children." The owner wouldn't let them on the property, fearing they would mischaracterize their mission.

The ranch is actually a $3,500-a-month facility where adoptive parents send children with developmental and behavioral problems to be in a structured environment that provides them green spaces and activities like horseback riding.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russia's Foreign Ministry Calls for Suspension of US Adoptions

Getty(MOSCOW) -- Russia's Foreign Affairs Ministry has proposed suspending the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens following a series of incidents involving child abuse, according to a statement released Saturday.

“Regarding the incessant series of crimes in the United States against adopted Russian children, Russian Foreign Ministry rules that the adoption procedures for the U.S. citizens should be suspended until the Russian-U.S. adoption deal, signed on July 13, 2011, comes into force,” the ministry said.

Authorities allege 17 Russian children adopted by U.S. families have died as a result of child abuse.

As part of the adoption deal, Russian officials want several provisions addressed as it relates to the safety of the children. Among them, officials want authority to be able to check in on adopted children in addition to a streamlined process that includes only accredited adoption agencies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pope Defends Church's Response to Sex Abuse Scandal

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- Pope Benedict defended the Catholic Church's response to the sex abuse scandal to a group of U.S. bishops on Saturday at the Vatican.

Speaking to a group led by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Bishops conference, the Pope defended what he said were the church's honest efforts to confront the priestly sexual abuse scandal with transparency. But he also said other institutions needed to be held to the same standards as the church.

Dolan is on the record about the church's need  to restore credibility in the U.S., a challenge the  Pope acknowledged cannot be  underestimated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Charges 72 Suspects in Massive Child Porn Online Network

File photo. BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it has charged 72 suspects -- 52 of which have been arrested -- in connection with an international online child pornography ring.

Officials say the two-year investigation into the network uncovered a significant amount of sexually exploitative material involving children engaging in sex acts and enduring abuse.

"Operation Delego represents the largest prosecution in history of individuals who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography, and evading law enforcement," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder says a vast majority of the children were "very, very young", and included graphic images and videos involving children. The investigation, launched in December of 2009, targetted a private online website called "Dreamboard", which required its membership to provide child porn in exchange for entry into the network. Holder says the membership criteria included levels of varying degree, and rewarded its members with greater access depending on how graphic or violent their videos or images were.

According to Holder, 13 suspects have already pleaded guilty and four individuals have received sentences of 20-30 years in prison. Forty-three of the 52 suspects arrested are from the U.S., Holder said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


1,000 Kenyan Teachers Fired for Sexually Abusing Young Girls

Photo Courtesy - TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images(NAIROBI, Kenya) -- More than 1,000 Kenyan teachers have been fired for sexually abusing girls over the last two years, according to a new report from the country’s government.

Last year, 600 teachers were dismissed over allegations of sexual abuse, and 500 more have been let go this year. The allegations range from inappropriate kissing and touching to impregnating girls as young as 12.

The extent of sexual abuse in Kenya came to light after the government set up a hotline for the victims.

"Initially, we were not able to know what was happening in the country because of the poor communication, but now communication is everywhere. There's mobile [phones] across the country," Ahmed Hussein, the director of children's services at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, told the BBC.

Hussein said that some of the teachers had already been arrested and prosecuted. Many, however, were simply fired and sent home.

Technically, it is against Kenyan law for an adult to have sex with a minor under the age of 18, but the law is hard to enforce, particularly in rural areas. The victim's family has to press charges and become heavily involved in the investigation, so most accused sexual abusers escape prosecution.

In the case of teachers, the accused and school officials often pay off the girl's family, who is often poor, to keep the family from prosecuting.

The fact that the Kenyan government is acknowledging the problem is considered progress. Kenya is one of only 14 countries to have a hotline encouraging victims to report abuse. While more countries in Africa are acknowledging it, sexual abuse isn't widely talked about, let alone reported.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio