Thursday, March 20, 2014

Azerbaijan Shuts Down Cross Country Adoption; CHIFF weeps

Ah, the White Woman's burden! Will it never cease!

Today CHIFF mouthpiece Katy Jay posted a short blog with the provocative title, Russia Closing Adoptions in Entire Region?  Azerbaijan Closes.  Her rant is based on an article that appeared  in the March 18  Trend.regarding amendments to the country's adoption law that halts the adoption of Azeri children by foreigners and stateless individuals.

 Rules regarding accrediting bodies providing legal assistance to those potential adopters were also amended..

 Jay complains that since 2007 when Azerbaijan signed on to The Hague. that the flow of Azeri children into the US has dropped, accusing the State Department  of having "no idea how to use the Convention for its intended purpose, which is to get orphans into adoptive families."

 Surprise!

According to the The English language AzeriNews, the State Department and Azerbaijan, are  using the Hague exactly as it is supposed to be used by keeping children in their own family, culture and country whenever possible.

Azeri children are only available for cross country adoption if an Azeri adoptive family cannot be found to adopt them.

  A child can be adopted by a foreign citizen after numerous suggestions to Azerbaijani families, and only if no Azerbaijani family claims him or her.

 After receiving an application from a foreigner, the state committee requires their background information from the institution dealing with adoptions in the home country. The State Committee tries to give children to Azerbaijani families living in their country or Azerbaijani families living abroad, assuming that kids will be more comfortable with their fellow countrymen.

And, as for all those Azeri children being barred from US happy homes and citizenship? Last year only 8 Azeri children were adopted internationally, and all of them by  Azeri families in other countries:  4 in Russia and 1 each in Turkey, Iran, France, and the US.

 Why aren't Ms. Jay and her child catchers concerned about  US children bleeding  into the international adoption market?   I haven't looked at the latest  report, but according to the 2011 FY 2001 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption.  73 little Americans had been exported around the world that year via the US adoption industry with a total of 142 shipped out  since 2009.  (The number is probably under-reported).  It is hard to believe that nobody in the US wanted them

 Where is the outrage?

 As for the amendments to the rules governing accreditation, it appears they are an attempt to tighten up on internal reporting problems. Why would any ethical adoption advocate  object to that?

 When I first saw Ms. Jay's latest propaganda piece, I planned to limit my comments to the inflammatory implication-by-title that the Putin government somehow controls FSU adoption policy and we'll soon see a stampede of 'stahn's shutting off  the baby funnel.  (Unlike Ms Jay, I have actulaly been to Azerbiajan, and I can assure her it is not part of Russia.) If Putin will steal Crimea and Sevestapol, why wouldn't he he steal  Azerbiajan,  Why wouldn't he steal children from their forever  American homes?   I'm surprised  Ms. Jay hasn't joined the call to mount a military action  to save the children from their own countries? . But then I saw that the entire diatribe had too many holes that needed filled up. I have yet to hear a good explanation of why the US has a mandate to expropriate  other people's children.

  Addenda:  I was just about to send this when I thought I'd check in on Azer-by-what, whom I wrote about a few months ago.  She's now shilling for money to adopt in Ethiopia.

Join me on Twitter DBastardette

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

С Новым годом 2014 - Putin on the Ritz

Only in Moscow would Taco have a New Year's Eve special shown in 20 countries. (Can't post video directly(here)

Только в Москве может Taco есть телевизионное шоу в канун Нового Года, что транслируется в 20 странах.







Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dead Russian Adoptees: The White Book-- Russian resource on murdered Russian adoptees in the US

 White Pqper (Book):Victims of Foreign Adoption is a Russian web source on the abuse and deaths of Russian adoptees in the United States and elsewhere.  It includes an English language translation The English, though,  seems to be done by bot and it's not totally reliable,  (ex. White  Book translates as White Paper) but gives a good idea of what is in the original.

I was unaware of this site until tonight. It appears to have gone up in February 2013 and is operated by childvictim.ru. . Click the  Persons tab and you'll find documentation of each Russian adoptee  death in the US. I have documented these cases on  Bastardette and  collected them on  my Nikto Ne Zabyt webpage but the White Book includes some information about original names, birthplaces and regions of adoption that I don't have. I'll be fixing my data shortly.

I learned about  this page through a video posted on the English language version of Monday's Pravda  accompanying  an article entitled Western child  protection  destroys children's s lives, for once not about the US.  The video is, though..  It reminds me that the Cold War is back on wrapped in the the Russian flag.



The video includes an interview d Irina  Bergset, the chief editor at childvictim.ru and founder of Russian Mothers. Bergseth   says there's a secret  a conspiracy afoot in the West  to  "appropriate" Russian children. (Berget, a Russian national, gained  quite a reputation in Russia after a Norwegian court removed her children from her custody and turned them over to her ex-husband in Norway who she claimed is a pedophile. She's made some pretty strange accusations about child welfare and Russian adoptions  I'm not sure what to make of her and I don't have time to delve into it.)

Another woman, Svetlana Smetania,  identified as a "observer of Pravda" whom I've also located as a reporter for Russia Beyond the Headlines, (who doesn't like the US  so much)  claims:

The principles of the American way of education include all children from Russia should be treated, in a very specific way.  They should be rolled up in a carpet  and adults should sit on top of them crushing them with their weight. In America this is a very common way to treat foster children.

Other therapies include  forcing "foster children" to live in dog houses and dig their own graves in the backyard  "on the advice of experts."  I suspect she's referring to Michael Pearl (or some iteration of him) who is only considered  n "experts" his  knuckle dragging christo-fascist fans,  The Pearl manifesto "How to Raise Up a Child" and other attachment  therapy books have been found in the homes of three four forever parents of murdered children, but to say that these "therapies" are common is misleading.  (.See my The Therapeutic Murders of Candace Newmaker, David Polreis, Viktor Matthey, and Jessica Albina Bennett.

No one. of course,  can deny the  gross  mental and physical abuse inherent  in attachment therapy  It has  come under close scrutiny lately, and extreme "treatments." such as rug rolling  are  widely  condemned.  After the death of  Candace Newmaker during a "therapy session"  in Colorado, the state outlawed the practice and sent the therapists to prison.

The video reeks of propaganda due to it's informants, Bergset and Smetania who have their own battles going, but that doesn't negate  the truth of it either or  the usefulness of White Book, Russia, however, is not the paragon of child welfare that it pretends to be, and it would be most helpful to shine a light on itself while shining the light on us.  Both countries are leaders in child abuse.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yana and Toli Kolenda: Two Murdered Russian Adoptees You Don't Hear About

Lately I've seen claims that 20 Russian adoptees have been killed by their forever families.  That sounded a little high to me so I went back and looked in the extensive files I keep for  Nikto Ne Zabyt-Nichto Ne Zabyto--Nobody is Forgotten-Nothing is Forgotten  There are indeed 20 Russian adoptees that we know of who have been murdered by  abuse or neglect. in the US, but the  "official" count is 17 (though that can be disputed due to a couple of acquittals, even if the evidence showed otherwise)  because the deaths of the other three do not follow the pattern of  Russian adoptee murders. Their deaths had nothing to do with their adoptive status, nor were they abused, neglected, or isolated from the community.

 On October 20, 2002, Yana and Toli Kolenda, more than five years after their adoption, and their adoptive mother Gienia,  were murdered by their  depressed  out-of-work adoptive father Richard Kolenda who then committed. suicide.  In 2010 Kirill Kazankov, (adopted name Jackson Atusso,) 8 was brutally murdered by a teenage stranger during a family outing. Neither the Russian government  nor media has cited these cases in their condemnation of the American adoption system. I am writing about the Kolendas tonight and Kirill Kazankov in a day or so.  They are not footnotes and deserve their own separate entries.. I will also add them to In Memoriam.
******
Yana Kolenda was born December 31, 1990 in Russia (unknown location).  Her brother, Anatoli, was born May 20, 1991 in Russia (unknown location).  Their birth names are unknown. They were not biologically  related but, it appears they were adopted together from the same orphanage (unknown location).They lived in Westfield, Massachusetts when they died.

Yana was a 5th grade student at Holy Trinity School in Westfield,  where she was a member of the school choir. She attended  Daggett Gold Medal Gymnastics of Agawam.

Toli was also a 5th grade student at Holy Trinity and an altar server at the church.  He was a member of the Westfield Youth Soccer team.

Their adoptive parents Gienia Baczek Kolenda and Richard Kolenda,  a retired Air Force major, were both born in Poland. Richard came to the US in 1964 and attended college in Western Massachusetts. He had a Master's Degree, but his discipline  isn't published. The Kolendas had been married 23 years at the time of the adoptions and lived in Jacksonville, Florida.

IFlorida Times-Union  about National Adoption Awareness Month, Richard Kolenda,  described the adoption as a "tremendously positive experience" for everyone" Gienia said, I think our life is a lot more happy,'' It is complete.''
Gienia Baczek Kolenda
In a November 25, 1994 article in the
The article continues:

Knowing the condition of the Russian economy and the limited resources to help orphaned children, the couple said they decided to adopt two children who desperately needed a home and a chance for a future. ''In other countries it is terrible; there is no hope,'' he said. The couple had to choose the children, who were not related to one another, from photos and videotapes. They described the task as being the hardest thing they had ever done. ''You want them all, and you know you can't; you have to choose two,'' he said.

 The Kolendas were well known as cat rescuers.  A  July 9, 2001 article in the Florida Times Union  covered their work in saving and adopting out 150 stray cats on the Mayport Naval Station at that time over-run with an estimated 800 abandoned and feral cats. They reportedly spent $5000  of their own money on the project.

 The motive for the killings was not "officially" determined but it's clear that finances were the issue.

Kolendas at the GNC store
After retiring from the Air Force, Kolenda invested his life savings in a  General Nutrition Center franchise in Jacksonville, which he operated for 4 1/2 years. In December 1999, he closed the store and  with other disenchanted GNC franchisers sued  GNC, in a very public dispute  over what they claimed were unfair business practices that favored company owned-stores over franchisers. Kolenda, described as obsessing over his treatment by GNC and the suit,. must have lost about everything because he ended up working in an autoparts store while  Gienia cleaned houses.

Around 2001 they moved to Westfield where Kolenda's famliy lived. He remained unemployed, but must have been trying to get into the real estate business. Shortly before the murders he joined the Massachusetts Board of Realtors. The GNC lawsuit had not been settled yet.

 Family members said that they had no idea why Kolenda snapped.

 Kolenda's father Wladyslow told Boston  Globe reporter Jessica Van Sack in a phone interview that he had seen his son for the last time only 12 hours before the murders and that everything seemed normal.

Saturday night, Richard Kolenda stopped by his parents' house in Westfield, as he had every day since his mother's recent stroke. He showed off pictures of his 11-year-old son, Anatoli, playing football in their backyard. "He told me how proud he was of his son and said that his two children are his joy," his father,... "He just was very happy, and that was the last time I saw him."

Friends. however, had a different story. They told police that Gienia Kolenda was suffering from an unnamed chronic debilitating illness and that Richard, unemployed and supporting his family  on a $2000/mo USAF pension was depressed and distraught  over how he would take care of her. On October 20, only 12 hours after visiting his parents

Richard Kolenda murdered his family, stabbing his wife and children repeatedly  then dragging their bodies out of the kitchen and into the basement.  Police said that although the family died quickly, evidence indicated that they each  put up a struggle. Kolenda called 911 and reported the murders, then walked a few blocks to the front of City Hall and shot himself in the head with a small gauge pistol. He left no note.

 The Kolendas have not been forgotten.  Just last month, on the 21nd anniversary of their deaths, members of Geinia's family placed the following memorial in the Springfield (MA) Republican. Richard is not listed:

Gienia and Yana and Toli Kolenda 6/7/1952 - 10/20/2002 12/31/90 - 10/20/02 - 5/20/91 - 10/20/02 Sadly missed by Sophie, Don, Tania, John, & Krystyna -

******
I'll try not to not  play pop psychologist here, but it appears that the Kolenda deaths fall under the heading of altruistic murder and suicide; that is, intended to relieve  or avoid suffering.

Police said that  Kolenda had no record of  abuse, violence, arrest. or psychiatric disorder. From all accounts he took great pride in Yana and Toli and found adoption a satisfying experience. He'd even learned to speak Russian, rstudied  Russian history and culture, and learned Russian songs to help the kids transition in the US.  He was depressed over money  the protracted lawsuit, and Giena's illness.He probably felt humiliated at the treatment he received from GNC.  Kolenda may have have been suicidal and took the family with him  to keep them from suffering not only from his suicide, but  everything that would go with it. He was afraid what would happen to them when he was gone.

Charles Patrick Ewing
The Boston area experienced two other altruistic-type family killings between 2001-2003.  Boston Globe reporter Farah Stockman interviewed Charles Patrick Ewing, a forensic psychologist and attorney who teaches at SUNY Buffalo Law school and had researched "familicide" cases for (then) 20 years.  Ewing, discussing  all three cases explained:

Unlike men who kill their wives or girlfriends, men who commit familicide rarely have a history of battering, Ewing said. They are known as doting, controlling fathers who see themselves as the center of a family that can't survive without them. "It has to do with the perpetrator perceiving himself as essential to the lives and well-being of the people he's killing," Ewing said. "It is kind of a narcissistic, grandiose belief. . . . `You couldn't possibly survive without me. You're better off dead without me.' ....Men who commit familicide "seem like family men, generally overly concerned with their families," Ewing said.

 We don't know how controlling Kolenda was, but he fits Ewing's profile. He felt responsible for his wife and children--whom he had adopted from a dis-repaired orphanage in Russia,  I think he had a savouir complex and could have felt guilt for them over his failed circumstances. If Gienia was indeed seriously ill, he must have worried about what would happen to her, once he put the bullet in his head. This is a sad ugly story.  I am uncomfortable putting the Kolenda murders in with David Polreis  Viktor Matthey, Nina Hilt, and Jacob Lindorf--all Rtussian children adopted  tortured, and killed by their forever families..  If Kolenda were indeed an altrusitic killer (and I believe he was) , he was the polar opposite of the monster adopters  His family was his forever family and he couldn't see them any other way.       

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kemerovo outlaws all international adoption from region; urges Russian Duma to follow

The legislature of  the Russian region of Kemerovo (Kuzbass) has voted unanimously  to ban  all adoptions  by foreigners of  local children. Galina Solovyova, Kemerovo lawmaker and co-chair of the regional educational committee, said in an official statement, quoted in The Moscow Times and elsewhere, "We think that the adoption of young citizens is an internal affair of Russia, an internal affair of Kuzbass"

Solovyova, says that the new legislation was drafted due to local complaints over adoptee abuse in the US.

 Solovyova also cited the recent re-homing investigation by Reuters, which documented the transfer of  unwanted adoptees to non-biological and non-adoptive individuals and couples--including pedophiles- often outside the parameters of child welfare and adoption regulations.  She particularity slammed social network cites in the US and Europe that "exchange and sell children adopted from Russia."  (Here's a Facebook example of an ostensibly "legal" exchange.) Adoption should only be permitted  domestically.

Last week the Russian  Foreign Ministry  demanded investigation and prosecution in the cases of at  least 26 Russia-to US  re-homed adoptees.  The origins of these adoptees has  not been released.

Kemerovo has, however,  been a popular sending point.  According to RIA Novisti  77 children from the region  this year alone have been disbursed worldwide. When looking for details on this story today I found several Kemerovo adopter blogs some dating back five years.

Kemerovo is in SW Siberia, ENE of Novosibirsk
 Banning international adoption is nothing new to  Kemerovo.  Last year the legislature banned the adoption of  Kemerovo  Region children by US citizens. A few months later the Russian Duma, following suit,  shut down all adoption trade between the two countries. Solovyova hopes the Russian Duma takes notice of this new measure which needs only the governor's signature to take effect..


A special thanks to my friend in Moscow Kyle Keaton for alerting me to this story early this morning.  If you want to know more about Russian culture and society--well everything about Russia-- check out his Windows on Russia.  It's almost as good as being there. 


******

TWITTER:  I had to start a new Twitter account.  Join me there!  Daily Bastardette @DBastardette.

Cross-posted  from The Daily Bastardette

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life Imitates Art: Mary Landrieu calls Pavel Astakhov an ass; Then files bill to speed up adoption

Two weeks ago New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz wrote  G20 Ends Abruptly when Obama calls Putin a Jackass.

Last week, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) , in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty called Russian Children's Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, who supports Russia's refusal to re-open its child coffers to needy American paps,  an ass. And it wasn't satire.  


To  make sure  RFE/RL knew this just wasn't a slip of her sloppy political tongue, Landrieu reiterated:

"He doesn't want to hear the truth," the senator says. "He's an ass. You can write that: He's an ass!" 


 And RFE/RL did just that.

Despite the impeccable US news  source , no other US media picked up  Landrieu's  insult to a high ranking member of the Putin government, and so far only the English language edition of  RIA Novisti  has published the account (though it may appear in the Russian language press.) Astakhov's

Russian or English language tweets make no note of the outburst.  Does Bastardette have to do Drudge's work?

To add insult to injury Landrieu claimed during the interview that Russian officials  are wrong when they say that American adopters  who abuse and kill  their Russian acquisitions aren't punished. Obviously Landrieu is the one who's mistaken.   My  blog  Nikto Ne Zabyt--Nichto Ne Zabyto, routinely accessed by the US State Department, the Russian government, and the press, documents the cases of Russian adoptees  murdered by their forever American adoptive parents.  Very few killers have received heavy sentences.


Landrieu's remarks were  published only one day after the Russian  Foreign Ministry  called for the US to investigate and prosecute the cases of at least 26 Russian children  who have been re-homed to non-biological and non-adoptive families -including pedophiles--outside of the already suspect  adoption industry.

Moreover, while Landrieu was busy comparing Astakhov to donkey parts, she was also busy introducing an industrial-size piece of busybody but very dangerous legislation: the Children in Families First of 2013 bill.  (CHIFF) Though pimped with nice-nice terms such as "family preservation,"  and "kinship adoption" the bill is clearly an attempt to refocus US foreign policy to ramp up and speed up foreign placement in the US.  You know.  Make it easier for Americans to adopt other people's children. The bill is backed by  the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys,  Both Ends Burning ,  the Center for Adoption Policy (CAP)the Christian Alliance for Orphansthe Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI)  (the misnamed) Equality for Adopted Children (EACH),  Kidsave Internationalthe National Council for Adoption(NCFA), the Joint Council for International Children's Services ( JCICS),  and  Rick Warren's Saddleback Church.  A serious, well-funded  PR campaign  to whisk this monster through is already in in place.   

Note that no adoptee rights and adoption reform groups were asked to weigh in. Of course these shut-up-and-be-grateful  industry hotshots don't care what we think. Unfortunately for them, they're about to find out!

I haven't had the time to read the full 77-page bill yet, but I'll be writing about it soon. In the meantime read Pound Pup's extensive analysis of the bill here.   Then contact Landrieu's office and tell her what you think of her latest attempt to disfranchise the children of the world.



******

I had to start a new Twitter account.  Join me there!  Daily Bastardette @DBastardette. 

Crossposted from The Daily Bastardette

Monday, February 18, 2013

Maksim Kuzmin/Max Alan Shatto, January 9, 2010, January 21, 2013


Russian media reports that another Russian adoptee has been murdered by his forever family.

Best coverage so far comes from RT (Russian Television) and the Siberian Times.  A few minutes ago, The Dallas Observer's Eric Nicholson picked up the story in his blog.  Although I'm seeing accounts from  the Australian , British, and Israeli press,  US media is so far silent, but I suspect that will change in a few hours.

RT reports that on January 21, a Russian adoptee identified as Maksim Kuzmin, 3,  living in Texas, died after a brutal beating at the hands of his adoptive mother. An autopsy showed that he suffered from severe trauma to his head, limbs, abdomen, and internal organs.  The autopsy also indicated that he was full of Risperdal, a  controversial anti psychotic drug approved by the USDA for treatment  for schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder in children over the age of 10,  but it has recently been used in the treatment of autism.

The  English-language Siberian Times identifies the boy by his adoptive name Max Alan Shatto.  The article (no byline) says that Maksim was born in the Komi Republic in the far north of Russia, west of the Urals.  Natalya Vishnevskaya, chief doctor at the Pechor Orphanage, identified the boy as coming from her children's home, but did not cite the adoption agency.  This is the same orphanage that sent Dima Yakolev (Chase Harrison  to the US--see sidebar.)  The adoptive parents are identified as Laura and Alan Shatto of. Ector County, Texas (county seat: Odessa).

The Texas Observer's  Eric Nicholson contacted  the Ector County Sheriff's Department and the  Texas Department of Family Protective Services, and reports:

The child was sent for autopsy. No arrest made, this is an ongoing investigation," sheriff's department spokesman Gary Duesler wrote in an email this afternoon. "Waiting on results of autopsy."

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins says in an email that the agency is also investigating the death of the child, whom he identified as 3-year-old Max Shatto.

"In this particular case, the allegations reported to CPS were physical abuse and neglectful supervision, or simply, neglect," he wrote. "At the conclusion of an investigation, CPS will either confirm a finding, rule out a finding, or it will classify it as undetermined. So, there are two allegations in this case, and there will be two findings."

Not surprisingly, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's special representative for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, says that Ector County authorities  not the US State Department, which has made no comment on the case, has assisted the Russian government in investigating the death. 
Maksim's obituary is posted on the Owens Memorial Chapel webpage

His Russian birth and Russian family aren't mentioned..


******

I'll make a  memorial page for Maksim tomorrow and will keep on this case. Russian authorities are discussing  further legal action.



Friday, December 23, 2011

Ivan Skorobogatov: Cravers Lose Appeal

The Cravaers were back on court this week . Both courts.  The results were as expected.

Wednesday morning, York County Common Pleas Court Judge John S Kennedy, who presided at their trial, denied separate appeals from the Cravers for retrials. The couple, who earlier escaped death penalty specs, was tried for murder, but convicted on lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of child endangerment, and conspiracy.  They appealed their case on the flimsy grounds that their convictions were "against the weight of the evidence." The Cravers were charged in the death of their adoptive son Vanya  Skorobogatov  who died of severe beatings and malnutrition  in 2009. In their appeals, the couple argued that with their convictions and probations hanging over their heads, they can't find work and have been forced to move in with friends.  Michael Craver is reportedly an Air Force veteran and an engineer by profession..

Thrown into the pot (which I'd not seen published  before) was the couple's request that their court costs of nearly $100,000 be cut  half.

Some people just don't' know when to quit.when they're ahead.

I disagreed with the flop to involuntary manslaughter and the wrist-slap sentence.  I thought Judge Kennedy equivocated when he said the verdict was appropriate and just.  But he stuck it to the Cravers this time.  It's too bad there's no online transcript.  .From the York Dispatch, Cravers' manslaugahter convictions stand, judge won't reduce $98K court costs,"
Cravers' former home where Vanya was killed

 Kennedy said he wished state law would allow him to order the Cravers to pay the costs of their defense as well. 

But because the Cravers were represented by public defenders and court-appointed counsel, they cannot be billed for defense fees, chief deputy prosecutor Tim Barker said. 

"The taxpayers of York County should be reimbursed" for defense costs, as well as prosecution costs, Kennedy said. He noted the Cravers have earning potential, unlike many other defendants who will never be able to pay off their court costs. 

Defense attorneys declined to say how much defense fees totaled, and that information is not available to the public. 

I'm surprised that the public defender costs aren't public information.  They should be.  After all, the public paid the bill. Over 30 years ago I was part of a defense team in a successful  capital murder appeal in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Our costs were around $100,000 in 1978 money.  It should have twice that, but a good part of the work was  pro bono and the defendant went pro se.   The state's cost was over $200,000 and came close to busting the county prosecutor's bank account. Of course, if the Cravers had been able to hire their own lawyers the costs would have taken them on a trip to Mars, and they might have gotten a worse.deal. . They got off cheap and lucky and should be happy.

The Dispatch doesn't mention what the Cravers plan to do now, but the next step, if they pursue it, would  be to take their appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Hours before the Cravers were in York County Common Pleas Court crying  innocent, and poor, the Moscow City Court was busy upholding an earlier ruling refusing to  issue an Interpol arrest warrant on the couple to haul them back to Moscow for a show trial.  The article which appears in different forms from RIA Novosti and  the Russian Legal Inforamtion Agency  (scroll down and hit link) is awkwardly translated in English, and leaves a big hole in the story.  According to both sources, though,  the court also dismissed an appeal filed by Vanya's aunt. This is the first time we've heard of an aunt trying to bring charges.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Masha Allen Discussion

For those interested in the Masha Allen case, a discussion has developed on it at my main blog The Daily Bastardette, Santorum called out on Sandusky During Iowa Speech. The discussion involves her second "Forever Family:  Faith Allen and her continued abandonment by "friends.".

Monday, December 12, 2011

Russian Adoptee Reported Murdered in Canada

Voice of Russia says that a 4-year old Russian-Canadian  adoptee  named Sasha, has been beaten to death by the live-in boyfriend of his Forever Mother.

Saturday, Russian Children's  Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov sent a  tweet about  the death which I've read, but offered no other details, and as of this writing there are no additional messages.  No statement has  been published by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science in either Russian or English or by TAR-Tass News Agency or any other Russian online source.  . 

I'll be watching this story.

UPDATE: One of my readers, Andraya Charette has pointed out to me that this is an old case from 2002--but that the Russian government  has only now has become aware of it.  The little boy's name was Sacha Valee.  I have some more information on the case, but it's late, so I'll put it up tomorrow probably..

Andraya pointed me to an article published today by the Russian Legal Information Agency (l'l be linking that  publication permanently in my sidebar on Niko) article, Children's Ombudsman reports death of Russian-born child adopted in Canada..  The article quotes RIA Novisti, which wasn't listed when I googled earlier this evening:

"It is an old case. It happened in 2002, but it became known only now," Astakhov told RIA Novosti.

According to him this case was uncovered by a group set up to monitor the status of the adopted children.

On Saturday Astakhov said he did not rule out imposing a moratorium on children's adoption and relocation to the United States before the US - Russian adoption agreement is ratified.

He said a dangerous situation has developed abroad when a huge number of violations of Russian-born children's rights keeps on growing. He also emphasized the gravest situation over children's rights violations can be seen in the United States.

The haphazard way in which the murders of Russian adoptees  is reported to the Russian government is alarming to say the least. Just how many murders have occurred that we don't know about (even if they are reported locally)  in the US, Canada, or other countries? .Since the Russians have formed a monitoring group, we may be hearing of more soon.

Astakhov also brought up a case of sexual abuse which boggles the mind.  I'll be looking for more on this:


According to his information there is an American family which adopted 21 girls from Russia with the purpose of sexually abusing them. "We have found out dozens of such case now," the ombudsman said.

If this is true, the Russian courts fall down on the job, too. 


Much thanks to Andraya Charette!









Wednesday, December 07, 2011

UPDATE: THE RUSSIAN ADOPTED DEAD: A REVIEW OF KILLERS AND SENTENCES

 UPDATED POST:
Since 1996, 7 Russian children have died at the hands of their forever families. Except for Dmitry Yakolev/Chase Harrison, all were victims of physical abuse, starvation, and systematic torture by adults who were judged by the US adoption industry and the US and Russian governments to be fit to adopt someone else's children. The Polreis case attracted national attention, but most cases, until recently, have rarely gotten more than a few lines. The Russian press has covered some, but not all of the cases, and covered the Harrison case extensively. Lately it has covered the Dykstra and Craver classes.  The Russian Investigate Committee is now looking into some if not all of the cases, and threatening to take action on its own.  Though it is highly unlike that Russian courts will accede to the wishes of the IC, the investigations and threats are indicative of the anger and frustration the Russian government has with Russian-US cross-country adoption.

Below is a summary of the legal outcomes of the 17 cases on record. . These summaries are taken from the larger account of each case found at my Forever Family, Forever Dead blog entry. There are also many links to these cases in the larger summary. Outside of Peggy Sue Hilt and Gary and Amy Thompson,  the sentences have been relatively short and most of the forever parents are now on the street. I have no idea what the average sentence is for killing your child. I do know there is great disparity not only amongst states but amongst jurisdiction for killing children, so I can't say that these bad sentences reflect a general trend or are just what they are. Whatever, it is shocking to see that monsters like Robert and Brenda Matthey  and Heather Lindorff out and about.  Her husband, however,  checked into the Gray Bar Hotel himself after he was convicted of trying to hire a hitman to kill a witness in the family's earlier trial.

 This entry is a backgrounder for my own future writings and is also intended as a guide to domestic and international media t and scholars who check in here.  When pictures of the dead children are available, I have included them here. Pictures of the forever parents, whenever available are placed below "Outcome."

. ****** 
DAVID POLREIS, JR,/KONSTANTIN SHLEPIN
age 2, Greeley, Colorado. Died February 9, 1996; beaten and cut over 90% of his body.

OUTCOME: Adoptive mother Renee Polreis was convicted of child abuse resulting in death and sentenced to 18 years in prison. In 2000 her sentence was reduced; she was paroled in 2005.








 LOGAN HIGGINBOTHAM (birth name unknown) 
age 3, Shelburne, Vermont. Died November 25, 1998 of massive head injuries. The medical examiner was unable to determine if death was an accident or homicide. Three years later police reopened the case with other medical experts and concluded that Logan's head had been intentionally slammed into a wall.

OUTCOME: In 2004, Laura Higginbotham pled no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 1 year in prison. She will remain on parole until her older daughter, Layne also adopted from Russia is 18. Higginbotham has divorced, remarried, and has a biological child.


 VIKTOR MATTHEY/ VIKTOR SERGIVICH TULIMOV

 
 ge 6, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Died October 31, 2000 of cardiac arrest due to hypothermia after adoptive parents Robert and Brenda Matthey locked him overnight in a damp unheated pump room; also suffered over 40 cuts, scrapes, bruises and untreated fractures. Robert Matthey admitted beating Viktor with an aluminum baseball bat, a belt, 2 whips, and his open hand
.

OUTCOME: Jury acquitted the couple on evidence tampering charges; deadlocked on manslaughter charges, but convicted them of lesser abuse. Both sentenced to 10 years in prison for confining Viktor to the pump room, 10 years for inflicting excessive corporal punishment and 7 years for failing to provide medical care. The sentences were to run concurrently. Brenda Matthey was released from prison on November 1, 2008. Robert Matthey was released on November 7, 2008.


LUKE EVANS, (birth name unknown) 
age 1.5, Lowell, Indiana. Died November 30, 2001 of massive head injuries, shaken baby syndrome, and poor nutrition.

OUTCOME: On June 30, 2006 Natalie Fabian Evans was found not guilty of murder, battery and neglect of a dependent after a doctor for the defense convinced a jury that Luke could have had "bleeding in his brain for days prior to the day" he was found unresponsive in his crib.Evans and her husband divorced during the proceedings.


 JACOB LINDORFF, (birth name unknown)
age 5, Gloucester Twp., New Jersey. Died December 14, 2001 of blunt force trauma to head. Also suffered from 2nd degree burns on feet, hemorrhaging in 1 eye; bruises, and seizures.

OUTCOME: Adoptive mother Heather Lindorff, 36, was found guilty of 2nd degree endangering, aggravated assault. She was sentenced to 6 years. She claimed the injuries were accidents and begged judge not to separate her from her family. Adoptive father, James, 54, sentenced to 4 years probation and 400 hours of community service for child abuse. In May 2004, Heather Lindorff was released on appeal bond and ordered not to visit her children without supervision. That same month DYFS learned that children were back living with the Lindorffs. Medical examinations found four children were malnourished, abused, and neglected. Heather Lindorff was released from prison on November `6, 2009. In September 2007, James Lindorff and Mildred Cullinan were charged in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a witness at the Lindorff trial. On August 7, 2008 James Lindorff was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of 7 years with a minimum term of 5 years 11 months and 12 days. He will be eligible for parole on April 16, 201.  His mother-in-law Mildred Cullinan pled down to a charge of hindering an investigation and was sentenced to 90 days in jail


JESSICA ALBINA HAGMANN (birth name unknown) 
age 2 years, 7 months, Prince William County, Virginia. Died August 11, 2003 of mechanical asphyxia due to compression against an adult: lack of blood and oxygen possibly due to "holding therapy"performed by her adoptive mother Patrice Lynne Hagmann.

OUTCOME: In December 2003 Patrice Hagmann took an Alford plea ( pleading no contest, without acknowledging guilt). Prosecutors recommended 14 years in prison, In January 2004 the court sentenced her to five years for each charge, suspended dependent on five years probation.


ZACHARY HIGIER /NIKITA KHORYAKOVONT, 
age 2, Braintree, Massachusetts. Died August 15, 2002 of severe trauma to the head. Jacob had a bilateral skull fracture, a massive stroke on the right side of his brain, a smaller stroke on left side, brain swelling and detached retinas.

OUTCOME: Adoptive mother Natalya Higier pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail, with 18 months balance of sentence suspended for 4 years; also required to attend anger management classes.


MARIA ANASTASIA BENNETT, (birth name unknown)
age 2,  Lancaster, Ohio. Died October 23, 2002 of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Medical evidence indicated fatal head wounds and eye injuries could not be caused by such a drop.

OUTCOME: Bennett pled no contest to 1 count of reckless homicide. She originally faced 8 years in prison. Prosecutors recommended 4 years, but said they would not oppose probation after 2 years served. Bennett was sentenced to 3 years.


LIAM DMITRY THOMPSON/ DMITRY SERGEVICH ISHLANKULOV
age 3, Galloway, Ohio. Died October 16, 2003 at Columbus Doctors Hospital West of scalding and neglect. Five days earlier, adoptive father, Gary Allen Thompson, put Liam in a bathtub of 140 degree water causing 2nd and 3rd degree burns; skin peeled off legs. Instead of seeking treatment Thompson put him on a crib mattress in an unheated basement. Adoptive mother, LPN Amy Lynn Thompson, whose diary revealed she didn't like Liam or his adopted sister, failed to notice the seriousness of burns for 2 days, then treated him with Tylenol and Vaseline. Liam was taken to the hospital only when he went into respiratory failure. Autopsy revealed severe burns on both legs, right arm, back, and buttocks; bruises on neck, right side of upper lip, right eye, both cheeks and forehead. The official cause of death is listed as "thermal injuries."

OUTCOME: Amy Thompson pled guilty to child endangering and involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. She is currently incarcerated in the Marysville Reformatory for Women and is scheduled for release on October 9, 2017.. Gary Thompson pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to 15-life. His first parole hearing will be in August 2018.


ALEX PAVLIS/ ALEX GEIKO
age 6, Schaumburg, Illinois. Died December 19, 2003 of severe beating. Adoptive mother Irma Pavlis admitted to punching Alex hard in the stomach and slapping him.

OUTCOME: Irma Pavlis sentenced to 12 years for involuntary manslaughter. She was paroled on March 28, 2008 and resides out of state. She was released from released from parole on March 29, 2009.






DENNIS GENE MERRYMAN/ DENIS URITSKY 
 age 8, Harford County, Maryland. Died January 22, 2005 of cardiac arrest brought on by starvation; weighed 37 pounds, 2 pounds less than when doctors examined him in October 2000. Medical examiner could find no underlying conditions and ruled death a homicide.

OUTCOME: On April 17, 2008, adoptive parents Samuel and Donna Merryman On April 17, 2008 they were each sentenced to 22 years in prison.  Samuel is currently incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown; Donna is at Patuxent Correctional Mental Health Center in Jessup.




NINA HILT/ VIKTORIA BAZHENOVA
 age 2.5, Wake Forest, North Carolina. Died July 2, 2005 on A visit to Manassas, Virginia, from blows to the abdominal area. Adoptive mother, Peggy Sue Hilt, 33, told investigators she was "enraged and angered" at Nina, shook her, dropped her on floor, kicked her in the stomach, then picked her up, put her in bed and continued to strike her with a closed right fist on her back and stomach

OUTCOME: On May 25, 2006, Hilt was sentenced to 35 years in prison with 10 years suspended; will serve 21-22 years due to time served awaiting trial.She is currently incarcerated at the Fluvanna Correction Center for Women in Troy, Virginia.  Her expected release date is October 6, 2022.




 

ISAAC JONATHAN DYKSTRA/ILYA KARGYNTSEV

 age 21 months, Iowa City. Died August 14, 2005 , the day after he was hospitalized for injuries reportedly incurred from an accidental fall a few days earlier. On August 7, 2008, after a nearly 3-year investigation, adoptive father, Brian Dykstra, 31, was charged with 2nd degree murder.

OUTCOME: Dykstra released on bond. Due to the complexity of the case the prosecution and defense asked for several postponements over the next three years. As a result,  Dykstra didn't go to trial until the end of October 2011. On November 3, 2011, despite a preponderance of evidence from doctors, nurses, police, and pathologists that  in their opinion he killed Ilya, Dykstra was acquitted of all charges. Judging from news reports, the jury appeared to prefer the testimony of character witnesses.over scientific evidence. Dykstra and his wife, Dr. Lisa DeWaard Dykstra are now divorced, but she testified for the defense. Nearly a month after the verdict, on December 3, 2011.  the Russian Investigative Committee, announced it was opening a case file on Dykstra and doing its own investigation.  According to numerous Russian sources, the US State Department, contrary to agreement, had never informed Russian authorities about Ilya's death.and they heard about it only after the trial was over.


NICOLI (KOLYA) EMELYANTSEV
age 14 months, Tooele, Utah. Died March 7, 2008 from a "significant skull fracture" caused by blunt force trauma. Adoptive mother, Kimberly Emelyantsev 33, charged with murder.  Charles against her husband, Fyodor, a Russian national, were dropped. During her post-conviction psychiatric evaluation she admitted grabbing Kolya by an arm and leg and repeatedly slamming him in the floor. Kolya suffered from Down Syndrome.

OUTCOME: Kimberley Emelyantsev, pled guilty to a lowered charge of 2nd degree felony child abuse homicide. On October 10, 2008 she was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. I can find no current information on Emelyantsev's whereabouts (she should still be in prison), but  according to his Facebook page,  husband Fyodor Emelyantsev  has returned to Russia and is living in Novosibirsk.






CHASE HARRISON/
DMITRY ALEXANDRIVCH YAKOLEV

age 21 months, Purcellville, Virgina. Died July 8, 2008 in Herndon, Virginia after adoptive father Miles Harrison, 49, left him in SUV for nine hours in up to 91 degree heat. Temperature inside anywhere between 131-172,.

Outcome:  On December 18, 2008 Miles Harrison was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in a bench trial.










NATHANIEL MICHAEL CRAVER/ IVAN "VANYA" SKOROBOGATOV 
 age 7. Dillsburg/Carroll Township, Pennsylvania. Died August 25, 2009 at Penn State Hershey Medical Center after being taken off life support. The autopsy revealed Vanya suffered 80 external injuries, including 20 to the head. Old injuries, including fractures to his forehead and old blood beneath his scalp were found. The coroner also found evidence of malnourishment and "severe failure to thrive." Adopters Michael 45 and Nanette Craver, 54, say that Vanya caused injuries to himself.

 OUTCOME: On February 26, 2010 Michael and Nanette Craver were arrested and charged with criminal homicide, conspiracy, and child endangerment. The prosecutor considered seeking indictments with death penalty specifications, claiming that Vanya's death constitution torture,  but later took that option  off  the table.  The couple were held in the York County Prison without bond until their trial in September 2011. Like the Dykstracase, despite a preponderance  of evidence to the contrary, the Cravers were acquitted of first degree murder, but unlike Dykstra were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and conspiracy.  In November they  were sentenced to five years in prison with time served. They are currently on parole and attempting to regain custody of Vanya's twin sister, Dasha. After the sentencing hearing, the Russian Investigative Committee, outraged at the outcome of the trial announced it would seek to extradite the Cravers and try them on murder charges in Moscow. A Russian court ruled against the CI, but it is still investigating the case.  On December 2, the Cravers  filed separate appeals of their sentences and demanded new trials. If they win their appeals, which is doubtful, they can only be retried on the involuntary manslaughter charge, and if found guilty again, be sent to prison for up to10 years.

UPDATED DECEMBER 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Vanya Skorbogatov. Cravers ask for new trial; want custody of Dasha

The Russian Investigative Committee  (IC) isn't the only one demanding that the Cravers get a new trial.

Last week Michael and Nanette Craver, convicted last month of involuntary manslaughter in the death of their adopted Russian son Vanya Skorobogatov  filed separate post-sentencing appeals with Judge John S. Kennedy, the presiding judge of their trial.  They argue that the verdicts were "against the weight of the evidence."  The appeals are not online, but according to the York Dispatch, Cravers ask judge to overturn their convictions and grant them new trials,:the couple argues:

 prosecutors presented no evidence to show either parent physically abused Nathaniel, other than testimony from a forensic pathologist who said he believed the injuries were intentionally inflicted.... 

 ...The forensic pathologist testifying for the defense told jurors there was no evidence the injuries were intentionally inflicted, and a number of medical experts testified to Nathaniel's "numerous and serious medical and mental-health conditions," including self-injury, according to Michael Craver's motion

The jury didn't buy  that argument and found the couple guilty of involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and conspiracy. The couple was originally charged with first degree murder, with an option of death penalty specifications..

If the Cravers' appeal is granted, they can be re-tried only on the charges of which they were convicted, . BUT if they lose again, they could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, rather than their current cushy time-served awaiting trial.

The Cravers obviously don't' know when to quit, especially since their case is edging into international incident territory due to the IC's attempt to extradite them to Moscow for a taste of Russian justice--and to take custody of Vanya's twin sister Dasha Skorobogatova in the process.  Dasha, still a Russian citizen, as was Vanya,  is currently, in  the care of an adoptive aunt..

My educated guess is that  Judge Kennedy will not grant the appeal motions since he, agreed with the  verdict:
 .
"It was an appropriate and just verdict," he said. "The physical evidence ... did not establish there was intentional infliction of injuries on Nathaniel. ... Certainly there was reasonable doubt presented."

If Kennedy doesn't grant the motions, the next step will be to take the case to the Pennsylvania Superior Court for consideration.

The Cravers legal team says the couple maintains their innocence and want to prove it, but also need an acquittal  to re-gain custody of Dasha, whom they  haven't seen since their arrest in February. 2010.  Rick Robinson, one of Nanette Craver's lawyers. who said last month that the sentence was fair and reasonable, now backpedaling.  He says he clients are concerned that their convictions: 


establish the ability for Children and Youth (caseworkers) to attempt to terminate their parental rights for (the girl),"  "They want to have contact with their daughter." 

To add to the Craver's woes, they are currently unemployed and unemployable due to their conviction. They are now living with friends, which might mean they lost their home.


In so many words,  the Cravers still insist that Vanya killed himself.


Let's stop right now!  

I'm not going to go through all the trial testimony, most of it damming for the Cravers,  but  let's just take the autopsy alone.  This is how  pathologist Wayne K Ross, who performed the post-mortem on Vanya, described his condition durung  the Craver's preliminary hearing, as reported in the April 29, 2010 York Daily Record.


WARNING:  Graphic language ahead 
 
 Ross said the injuries to Nathaniel's swollen head were caused by repetitive blunt force trauma. He made the same observation as to the numerous bruises on the boy's arms, legs, chest, abdomen and torso.

The only part of the boy's body the pathologist did not take note of was the bottom of his feet.

Pictures taken at Hershey Medical Center by Carroll Township Police Sgt. John Schreiner reportedly showed an emaciated boy with gauze covering his head where surgeons had removed a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure on his swollen brain.

The exhibits - 18 hospital and autopsy photos and a cat scan - were passed by Barker to the defense attorneys and the district justice. They were not visible to onlookers in the courtroom.

Ross said the boy "looked like he was starved to death" and had "less than a millimeter" of body fat at the time of his death.


The pathologist said the boy's face and head were distorted by swelling and looked "like a balloon." 

Nathaniel also had a "classic cauliflower ear" normally seen on a wrestler, he said...

...Ross's other findings included anemia, brain scarring, indications that the boy's shoulders and hips had been dislocated and that he had been bound at the wrists and ankles. He said the time of the injuries ranged from the 24 hours before being taken to the hospital to up to two months earlier.

under cross,

Nanette Craver's attorney David Hershey asked Ross if Nathaniel being diagnosed with reattachment disorder, the lack of a nurturing environment in a Russian orphanage and whether the boy was self-destructive and taking anti-psychotic medications would affect his findings.

Ross suggested deferring the psychological questions to an expert in that field. He then explained that anyone seeing Nathaniel over a period of time would have noticed the drastic change in his appearance and health.

Ross said the final injury to Nathaniel's head that necessitated taking him to the hospital required "hundreds of pounds of force."

He added the bruising patterns on the boy's head, back and abdomen "were inconsistent with self-abuse."



Dr. Ross also testified at the trial.. From the Harrisburg Patriot-News/ Penn.Live.com  Doctor describes Craver's injuries to York County jury:

After nearly two hours on the witness stand, Dr. Wayne K. Ross circled his main point.

The Dauphin County forensic pathologist had performed the autopsy on Nathaniel Craver in 2009. He had spent Wednesday morning detailing the injuries he found on the 7-year-old’s body.


Nathaniel’s head: “I don’t just mean a little bit of swelling. I mean the entire skull and head looked to me like a watermelon or an alien.”


Nathaniel’s brain: “The bottom line is, it was soft as anything. When you look at the pictures of the brain we took at autopsy, it was purple and dead ... it was flat and mushy. It was horrible.”


He found evidence that muscles had torn near Nathaniel’s shoulder and hip joints from being pulled. He found marks indicating the boy had been bound at his feet and wrists.


He found bruising on Nathaniel’s torso and back showing the boy had been struck with a “tool type” device over a period of weeks. He found an untreated broken rib. He found “lakes of blood” under Nathaniel’s skull. To get there, Nathaniel’s head must have been struck repeatedly.


In the weeks before his death, Ross testified, Nathaniel was starving....


...Was it possible, Barker asked, for Nathaniel to have done this to himself?


It went to the heart of the defense case. Michael and Nanette Craver have maintained their adopted Russian son constantly abused himself. It was a manifestation of deep physical and psychological issues stemming from a harsh early life in Russia, conditions the Cravers have said they could not stop.


Ross did not hesitate.


“The abuse I see is due to the direct action of another,” Ross said, “not self-abuse.” 


Other medical, police, and family backed up Ross on various points..

I really don't see how this evidence can be refuted, despite the defense's expert witness who claimed it was impossible to tell how Vanya was injured. Pathologists do make mistakes, but Vanya's injuries are so massive and extended they cannot be dismissed as self-inflicted. Especially by a 7-year old.

Clearly the jury, though flawed with its involuntary manslaughter verdict, believed that the Cravers were responsible for Vanya/s death through abuse or negligence..  A re-trial won't change that. Whatever happened Michael and Nanette Craver were lousy parents who either caused Vanya's death directly or indirectly. I believe directly.

I haven't yet, found an IC reaction to the Craver's demand for a new trial. The appeals have been reported by the Russian press so we know the IC  and Russian Children's Rights Commission director Pavel Askakov know--just in case the US State Deparmtnet didn't know about it.

This is a wrap-up video of the sentencing.