District Attorney William Murphy is investigating 4 new complaints against former Tompkinsville man who has been charged in Pennsylvania
Author: HEIDI SINGER and MICHAEL SCHOLL; ADVANCE STAFF WRITERS
The sexual abuse case involving a former Tompkinsville foster dad spread from Pennsylvania to Staten Island yesterday, as prosecutors began investigating complaints from Islanders who claim that Thomas Cusick molested them as children.
The office of District Attorney William Murphy has received numerous telephone calls about Cusick from Islanders who learned the Port Richmond native was arrested Tuesday for sexually abusing five boys in his care.
Murphy's office is now investigating four new complaints from Islanders who said they were abused by Cusick, according to Murphy spokeswoman Marlene Markoe-Boyd.
Cusick, formerly of the 100 block of Tompkins Circle, was a career foster and adoptive father who cared for 28 children - 24 of them boys - over a span of three decades.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A successful songwriter who was an adoptive and foster father to 28 children turned himself in to police yesterday after five boys in his care accused him of sexual abuse.
Thomas Cusick, 47, was charged with multiple counts of corruption of a minor, indecent assault and child endangerment. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 35 years in prison.
After his arraignment yesterday before District Justice John J. Kelly Jr., Cusick was released on $300,000 bail. A preliminary hearing date was set for Nov. 4, his lawyer Kevin M. Zlock said. Cusick has written songs for recording artists including Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie, Tony Orlando, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond. He has lived since January 1998 in an affluent subdivision in Langhorne, about 20 miles northeast of Philadelphia.
Cusick previously lived in Staten Island, N.Y., where he began taking in children. Since 1972, he has been an adoptive or foster father to 24 boys and four girls, police said.
A songwriter to the stars has been accused of sexually abusing five of his 28 adopted and foster children on Staten Island and in Pennsylvania, authorities said yesterday.
Thomas Cusick, 47, who penned "Don't You Go" for Ricky Martin as well as tunes for Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond, was charged with indecent assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.
He was released on $300,000 bail yesterday after surrendering to cops in Bucks County, Pa.
Cusick moved from Staten Island to a seven-bedroom home in the affluent Philadelphia suburb of Langhorne in January of last year, Bucks County District Attorney Alan Rubenstein said.
One alleged victim, now 17, told investigators the abuse began eight years ago when the family lived on Staten Island. Authorities then interviewed four other boys, between the ages of 8 and 16, who reported similar assaults, Rubenstein said.
A spokeswoman for Staten Island District Attorney William Murphy said city prosecutors have been in contact with Pennsylvania authorities about the allegations.
BUCKS FOSTER FATHER GIVES HIMSELF UP IN ALLEGED ABUSE CASE \
AUTHORITIES IN NEW YORK ARE ALSO INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM OF CHILD MOLESTATION.
Author: Lacy McCrary and Richard V. Sabatini, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
New York authorities said they would review the case of a Bucks County man who turned himself in to police yesterday after five boys in his care accused him of sexual abuse.
Thomas Cusick, 47, who was an adoptive and foster father to 28 children, was charged with multiple counts of corruption of a minor, indecent assault and child endangerment. He was released on 10 percent of $300,000 bail.
Authorities said the children reported that they were forced to perform sex acts with Cusick in his Middletown Township home and at a house in Staten Island, N.Y. Cusick lived in Staten Island until January of last year, when he moved to an affluent neighborhood near Core Creek Park with 13 boys. The boys, whose names were not released because of their ages, gave similar accounts of repeated sexual abuse, Bucks County District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein said.
A successful songwriter who was an adoptive and foster father of 28 children surrendered to police Tuesday after five boys in his care accused him of sexual abuse.
Thomas Cusick, a Toms River native, was charged with multiple counts of corruption of a minor, indecent assault and child endangerment. If convicted, he could receive up to 35 years in prison.
Cusick, 47, was released on $300,000 bail. No preliminary hearing date was set.
His lawyer, Kevin M. Zlock, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Cusick's songs include "Don't You Go," recorded by Ricky Martin. His songs also have been recorded by artists including Lionel Richie, Tony Orlando, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond, prosecutors said.
Since 1972, Cusick has been an adoptive or foster father to 28 boys and four girls in Pennsylvania and New York, police said. He began taking in children at age 18, when he lived on New York City's Staten Island, Bucks County District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein said.
Former Staten Islander surrenders to Pennsylvania authorities and is released on $300,000 bail
A foster father charged with the sexual abuse of five young boys in his care turned himself in to Pennsylvania authorities yesterday and was released on $300,000 bail after pleading not guilty to multiple accounts of child abuse.
Thomas Cusick, a playwright, composer and a native Staten Islander who formerly lived in Port Richmond, Travis and Grymes Hill, cared for two dozen boys over a 30-year career as a foster and adoptive father. Many of the boys were around age 8 when they came to live with Cusick, said Bucks County prosecutors.
Cusick intends to fight the 17 counts of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors that were brought against him Monday by the district attorney of Bucks County, the wealthy suburban community where he settled with 13 boys after leaving Staten Island in January 1998, according to his lawyer, Kevin Zolck, of Langhorne, Pa.
A Bucks County composer who wrote tunes from some of soft rock's biggest stars and was lauded for adopting 28 children - mostly boys - is being hunted by police in Bucks County after five of his young charges accused him of sexual assault.
Thomas Cusick, who knew he was the target of a criminal investigation, had cleared out his rented house at 315 Cottonwood Drive when police arrived yesterday morning to arrest him, Bucks County District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein said.
Cusick is wanted on five counts each of corruption of a minor, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children. The investigation began when a 17-year-old boy described the alleged abuse to police, Rubenstein said. Four more of Cusick's boys told similar stories.
"They say the abuse began when they were about 9 years old," Rubenstein said.
Cusick has reportedly written music for the television hit "Little House on the Prairie" and for stars Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Tony Orlando, Lionel Ritchie and Neil Diamond.
- Thomas Cusick in a 1980 Advance profile on him and his foster children
Foster dad to dozens accused of sex abuse,
Award-winning playwright disappears from Pennsylvania community he settled in after 1998 departure from Staten Island
Author: HEIDI SINGER; ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
A trusted foster father and award-winning playwright is a wanted man today - and may have returned to Staten Island - after being charged with sexually abusing some of the 24 young boys in his care over the past three decades, authorities said.
Staten Island native Thomas Cusick, 47, of Langhorne, Pa., is charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of children, seven counts of indecent assault and five counts of corruption of minors.
A warrant for Cusick's arrest was issued yesterday by Alan M. Rubenstein, district attorney of Bucks County, which includes the community of posh colonial homes and tree-lined streets where Cusick settled after leaving Staten Island in January 1998.
As a career foster and adoptive father, Cusick took 28 children into his custody, according to Rubenstein, including four girls.
With fewer parents to care for them, kids going to uncertain foster homes
An era of harsh cutbacks to child services from Albany has demoralized caseworkers who face huge caseloads, low salaries
Author: HEIDI SINGER; Advance staff writer
Neighbors in Thomas Cusick's upscale Pennsylvania neighborhood were shocked to discover that the polite, reticent composer had been charged with sexually abusing some of the more than two dozen boys placed in his care over the past 30 years.
But advocates for abused and neglected children weren't at all surprised.
"The city is begging for foster homes, and beggars can't be choosers," said Richard Wexler, the Washington director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. "They say we're going to put children first but the truth is that they often don't have any place to put them."
The foster care agency that placed all of Cusick's Staten Island children, the Springfield, Mass.-based Downey Side agency, enjoys a good reputation, according to foster care advocates.
Julianne M. Walsh
College of Social Sciences
Department of Anthropology
346 Social Science Building firstname.lastname@example.org
From 1996-1999 over 500 children were adopted from the Marshall Islands by Americans, placing the RMI well within the top twenty source nations for international adoptions. Without government regulation of this sudden and rapidly growing phenomenon, the potential for misunderstanding and exploitation grew alarming to national leaders who supported a moratorium on foreign adoptions late in 1999. This paper examines possible factors of foreign adoption in a society where customary adoptions have been among the highest in the Pacific. Social and economic marginalization in recent years combined with understandings of America and Americans based on historic relations are linked to the growth of a “baby business” whose social, legal, cultural, and emotional implications have yet to be imagined, much less addressed.
An East Side woman charged with killing her 18-month-old daughter ran a children's day-care center in her home, police and neighborhood residents said Thursday.
Martha J. Melendez, 24, of the 3300 block of East Glen - also known as Yanette Macias - was in the County Jail on $250,000 bond Thursday. She was arrested Wednesday and accused of capital murder in the death of Breianna Melendez.
Breianna died Tuesday of a fractured skull. She had an "injury that was not a survivable injury," police spokesman Sgt. Al Velarde said Thursday.
Shades were drawn Thursday afternoon at the Melendez residence, which is in a subdivision east of Lee Trevi?o Drive and just south of Edgemere Boulevard. Faded pastel letters pasted on the home's front window advertised Jellybean Daycare.
Velarde said Melendez supervised three children, two of whom were relatives. Interviews with the children's parents revealed no evidence of abuse, Velarde said, and Melendez had no record of child abuse.
Mexican officials are pursuing the extradition of Mario Reyes Burgue�o, a Douglas lawyer who last week pleaded guilty to a U.S. charge of conspiring to traffic in children.
The extradition request stems from a Mexican investigation into Reyes and his associates in an adoption business.
After the Mexican investigation began last October, American authorities opened their own inquiry into Reyes and two New York state women.
The investigation led to the indictment and conviction of all three this year in New York.
Reyes faces a likely prison sentence of up to three years and five months when he is sentenced in New York Dec. 15.
As the American process unfolded, the Mexican Attorney General's Office obtained an arrest warrant for Reyes and decided to try to extradite the lawyer, said Ernesto Garcia Guerrero, the chief federal prosecutor in Sonora.
``He is a fugitive. We're hoping to put him in jail,'' Garcia said by phone from Hermosillo, the state capital.
An East Side woman was arrested Wednesday and faces capital murder charges for allegedly killing her 18-month-old daughter by fracturing her skull, police said.
Martha J. Melendez, 24, of the 3300 block of East Glen, was arrested Wednesday and accused of killing her daughter, Breianna Melendez. Police said Breianna suffered a severe head injury and died of a fractured skull. The home is a few blocks east of Lee Trevi?o Drive and just south of Edgemere Boulevard.
"The mother called EMS (Tuesday night) and reported the child had fallen and appeared injured," Police spokesman Sgt. Al Velarde said Wednesday. "The child was taken to Thomason (Hospital) for treatment and died later in the night."
Velarde said the mother first told officers the child fell out of her arms when she was getting into the shower with her daughter. But an autopsy later Wednesday afternoon showed the fractured skull and "indicated evidence that the child had suffered previous head injuries," he said.
United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
David Karl DANSER, Defendant.
No. IP 98-161-CR-01 T/F.
Oct. 6, 1999.
Defendant was charged with three child pornography-related offenses. The District Court, Tinder, J., held that: (1) evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant committed charged offenses, and (2) defendant failed to establish that he was legally insane at time he committed the offenses.
Guilty Plea in Adoption Scheme
Published: October 2, 1999
A lawyer accused of running an adoption ring in which he and two Long Island women smuggled babies to the New York region from Mexico pleaded guilty yesterday to a conspiracy charge.
The lawyer, Mario Manuel Reyes, 41, an Arizona resident and American citizen licensed to practice law in Mexico, entered the plea before Judge Jacob Mishler in Federal District Court in Uniondale, N.Y., admitting that he conspired to transport the children and conceal that they were in the United States illegally.
But in a statement to the court, his lawyer, Stephen P. Scaring, said Mr. Reyes had acted on humanitarian grounds to find financially and emotionally stable parents in the United States for infants born in Mexico to prostitutes or destitute mothers who would otherwise have had abortions. In an interview afterward, Mr. Scaring said his client is Roman Catholic and opposed to abortion.