US man suspected of raping adopted Russian daughter

Russia’s children’s ombudsman has accused the US of covering up the story of a Russian girl who was allegedly raped by her American adoptive father.

Ksenia was born a sick child, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports. In addition to a cleft palate, the girl had problems with her central nervous system and cardiovascular system.  She had delayed physical development and at six years old she was only 87 centimeters tall and weighed 11 kilograms. Her biological mother handed her over to the orphanage when she was five, because of her health problems.

But Ksenia’s diagnoses did not scare Martha-Annette from America. She saw the girl in a database of Russian children up for adoption and liked the girl from first sight. Martha had been raising her one biological child and three adopted children alone. Ksenia became her forth adopted child in 2001.  Her new mother promised Ksenia a happy life with her family. 

But in 2009, the adoptive mother refused custody, and Ksenia was handed over to her sister’s family.

“Ksenia was a normal kid, not mentally challenged. She had some difficulties with speaking, like all kids with such illness like cleft palate, but after the operation she took lessons with a speech therapist. In addition, in a single report, which was sent to us from America six months after the adoption, it was said that the girl lived in good conditions, took part in different hobby groups, and had already begun to speak English.  We all were very happy for Ksenia,” the head of the orphanage Leonid Lokotosh said.

Personnel from the orphanage where Ksenia had been raised for six years were shocked when they discovered that the new adoptive father, Mike, had allegedly regularly raped the child.

“It is hard to believe, that the stepfather could do that to the girl,” says Valentina Buneeva, the deputy director of the orphanage.  She says that since1984 when the orphanage started its work, it is the first time one of their children have been in such a situation.

Police arrested the man in 2010. He admitted to having sex with the girl and insisted it was consensual. His lawyer provided documents from migration services in the Russian region Kemerovo, where Ksenia was born, which stated she was 16 years old. In the US state of Georgia, where the family lives, the age of consent is 16.

“According to our information, Ksenia was born in October in 1994,” – Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper cited Local department of Federal Migration Service’s spokesperson. “We do not know which documents American lawyers have, but falsification from our side is impossible. We are working on the ground of submitted documents."

Russian children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who was visiting the US as part of the Medvedev-Obama workgroup for a new agreement to strengthen the adoption process, says the documents were clearly forged. The girl was actually 15 when the alleged sex crimes were committed. Russian authorities learned about the ongoing investigation only in June 2011.

“Apparently, we would have never learned about Ksenia’s tragedy, if there were no forged birth documents in the criminal case,” Astakhov said.

“The Russian consulate and the presidential ombudsman for children’s rights have taken the case under scrutiny and are very concerned with the situation, especially since the new bilateral Russia-US agreement on adoption has not been signed yet,” the official’s press service said.

Moscow and Washington are in negotiation over an adoption agreement, which would regulate the adoption of Russian children by US citizens. Moscow insists it should have more rights to monitor what happens to the children after the adoption.

The need for such an agreement became clear after Russia banned American families from adopting Russian children on April 2010, following several high-profile scandals involving such families.

The agreement is expected to be signed in mid-July, according to Astakhov. It will give Russia legal ground to learn about the well-being and possible abuse of some 60,000 children, who have been adopted in the US over the past 18 years, he said.