More adopted Russian kids at risk: Texas parents suspected of abuse
The investigation was confirmed by the Texas Department for Family and Protective Services, Russian news services reported. According to officials the incident took place in the town of Silsbee.
Russia’s Investigative Committee - tasked with oversight in especially important and resonant cases – said on Wednesday that it was starting its own probe in connection with the reports of violence against adopted Russian kids.
The committee’s spokesman gave the names of the American parents as Michael and Penny Deckert and the names of the girls as Anastasia and Svetlana Klimov. The official added that Russian investigators possessed some information suggesting that the girls’ brother Aleksey Klimov, also adopted by the same parents, has repeatedly suffered from abuse and cruel treatment by his US guardians.
Aleksey Klimov, who was given the Anglicized name of Zachariah Deckert, left his adoptive family over a year ago and presently his whereabouts are unknown, the agency’s representative added.
The Investigative Committee will address US law enforcers with a request to provide all materials in the case, the representative said. He noted that despite the fact that the US side rarely expresses an intention to cooperate, Russian law enforcers were firm in their intent to conduct a “full, independent and objective investigation of the facts of cruelty towards Russian children.”
The Russian ombudsman for children’s rights, Pavel Astakhov, also reported that he had received information of another case of abuse of Russian adoptees in the state of Texas. He added that the information must be thoroughly checked and that the Russian investigators and the Ministry of Science and Education (which deals with orphans’ issues in Russia) must first request all relevant information from the US, then establish an action plan.
The official noted that one of the sisters personally addressed the Russian embassy in early March and complained about her adoptive parents’ behavior. Two weeks later, Texan protective services took the sisters from the Deckerts and placed them with a foster family.
Pavel Astakhov said that one of the adopted girls had written a letter, dated March 8, to the Russian embassy about her adoptive family, posting a picture of a handwritten letter as evidence.
According to Russian media the three children were born in the city of Krasnokamsk in central Russia’s Perm Region. In 2003 they all were adopted by the Deckert couple and moved to the United States.
The Klimovs’ case is yet another controversial incident involving suspected abuse of adopted Russian orphans in the US. In February mass media reported the death of three-year-old Maksim Kuzmin, who was adopted by a Texan family. According to the autopsy report, the boy died of injuries, but the US justice system ruled the death was an accident and refused to prosecute the adoptive parents.
The Russian side has repeatedly complained that the US law enforcers offer little cooperation in such cases and eventually Russian legislators passed the so-called Dima Yakovlev Act – an extensive regulation that includes a complete ban on adoptions of Russian children by US parents or by proxy of US organizations. However, the Russian-US adoptions agreement officially remains in force until the end of this year.