Battle for DOB in adopted daughter rape case
US national Michael Grismore’s lawyers are trying to supply the court with documents stating that his Russian foster child Ksenia was 16 at the time the alleged crime occurred, also claiming that the sex was consensual, RIA Novosti news agency reports, citing a source close to the case.
The girl was initially adopted by Grismore’s female relative, Martha Annette Blenford, who later refused custody and handed her over to her sister’s home in the state of Georgia.
Michael Grismore was arrested in 2010 on charges of allegedly beating and raping Ksenia. RIA Novosti quoted its source as saying that it was Ksenia’s school teachers who heard about the situation first.
“The girl’s school teachers learned that she had had sexual intercourse with her stepfather,” the source said. “They started to ask her questions, involved a psychologist and, as a result, she told them some facts.”
“The girl said that her foster father coerced her to oral sex,” the source added. “On the same day the police and specialists conducted a forensic analysis, took DNA traces from her body and found the father’s DNA everywhere, so no questions remained.”
Following the revelation, Ksenia was taken out of the family and placed in an orphanage, while her foster father was arrested.
Russian authorities learnt about the case only in June 2011 after the American side requested documents needed to determine Ksenia’s age. The Russian Embassy in the United States, which the US investigators had addressed, filed a request to the Kemerovo Region, where the girl was born, to determine her real age. The reply from the local migration service said that Ksenia was born in October, 1994, which means that in summer 2010, when the crime allegedly occurred, she was just 15 years old.
On Friday, Russian Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov provided Russian investigators with documents proving that the girl had not reached the age of 16 at the time the crime was committed.
This comes contrary to a certificate from Grismore’s defense, which emerged in spring 2011, claiming that Ksenia was 16 at the time the alleged crime was committed. The certificate was signed by some official with the Kemerovo migration services.
The RIA Novosti source said that the investigation is in possession of a copy of Ksenia’s birth certificate, while the original remains with Martha Annette Blenford, who refuses to co-operate and release it.
The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded action from the US authorities. “The Russian side demands that the US authorities conduct a thorough and complete investigation into the violent acts against Ksenia and pass a just sentence on the guilty party,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich announced on Thursday.
He also added that Russian Foreign Ministry and Russian Embassy in the United States are closely monitoring the situation. Russian consular officials have already visited the girl and met with the judicial authorities in the state of Georgia, as well as lawyers and investigators. Lukashevich added that the Russian authorities are now in constant touch with the US Department of State, monitoring the developments in the case.
Russian diplomats said that they are ready to provide video conference connection with the court in Georgia, where Russian authorities could prove the authenticity of Ksenia’s birth certificate, but American prosecutors insist on their physical presence in the court room. The prosecutors say, providing they have all original documents, the verdict will most likely be passed at the end of August, 2011.
According to RIA Novosti source, Ksenia feels good now.
“She is a typical sociable teenager. She has eight friends in the orphanage and she is fine now,” the source said. “There are no suspicions that she is suffering some kind of deviation or could slander her father, as defense suggested. The girl communicates well, just practically forgot Russian, although she said that she remembers the orphanage in Russia.”
Michael Grismore has been released on bail and is currently under police supervision