CLEVELAND PRIEST SAYS HE CONFRONTED U.S. OFFICIALS WHO TURNED A BLIND EYE TO PRACTICE
Author: JIM QUINN, Beacon Journal staff writer
The search for stolen children is leading investigators to Northeast Ohio, where hundreds of families adopted children during the Salvadoran civil war.
"I think parents have a valid reason to be concerned," said Tom Craig, whose adopted daughter Gina was discovered by her biological parents. "It's especially valid in this area because the Cleveland diocese was so involved in El Salvador."
Pat Burns, a spokeswoman for the Kent-based group that arranged local Salvadoran adoptions, said she has already heard from parents alarmed by what happened to the Craigs. "It's taking me some time to absorb all this," Burns said. "I feel certain that the vast majority of parents have nothing to worry about."
The biological mother and aunt of a boy who died two years ago while in the care of his adopted mother decried the state's foster care system Friday. A judge delayed a sentencing hearing to examine additional evidence.
"The system continuously keeps failing," said Donna Ramos, the sister of Vickie Lynn Moghaghab, mother of Kameron Bright.Ramos said foster care officials should have recognized warning signs after several people allegedly reported the family for child abuse.
The 3-year-old died as a result of massive skull injuries at the home of Darlene W. Bright, the boy's legally adoptive mother. West Valley police and investigators presented probable cause evidence to charge Bright with first-degree murder charges and a judge deemed the case triable.
In March, Bright pleaded guilty to a reduced crime of one count of child abuse homicide, a third-degree felony. She faces a possible sentence of zero-to-five years in prison.
The Arizona Daily Star
Author: Associated Press
Dateline: SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador
Early this year, Jose Lainz's family showed up at an office here to plead for help finding their daughter, Imelda, kidnapped by the army in 1984 at the height of El Salvador's civil war.
On Thursday, 12 years of separation ended when the girl - now a 17-year-old American known as Gina Marie Craig - was reunited with her natural parents in their village of Los Cocos, a 90-minute drive east of the capital, San Salvador.
``I feel very good about this reunion, because it's been a long and difficult process,'' said Dr. Robert Kirschner of Physicians for Human Rights, the Boston-based group that performed the DNA testing linking Gina to her family.
``These children have a right to know about their natural families, and the families have a right to know where their children are,'' he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Gina is the first American adoptee to be reunited with a Salvadoran family under a program that has already seen several reunions of Salvadoran families over the past year.
LOS COCOS, El Salvador -- In a reunion filled with joyful tears and awkward silences, a 17-year-old Ohio girl who speaks only English yesterday embraced her biological parents, poor Salvadoran farmers who had not seen their daughter since soldiers seized her from a rebel field hospital 12 years ago.
"My daughter! My love!" cried Jose Lainez, as he and his wife Victoria -- along with their six other children -- enveloped their daughter Imelda in the middle of the asphalt lane that splits the mud-and-stick homes of this tiny community.
The girl, a high school senior, is known as Gina Marie Craig in the Akron, Ohio suburb where she grew up. Taken by soldiers when she was 6, she was declared "morally and materially abandoned" by a Salvadoran judge, then adopted by an American couple who believed that her parents had been killed until DNA testing proved otherwise last month.
Sandy Springs woman banned from arranging adoptions in Georgia is named by British couple as their link to a Guatemalan lawyer some call the `baby bandit.' The couple also charges she gave them a `shopping list' of children.
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
A Fulton County woman banned from brokering private adoptions in Georgia and Florida is in business through a South Carolina storefront and a childless British couple says she led them on an intercontinental odyssey to a notorious Guatemalan lawyer and a "baby farm."
The couple's claims about the Sandy Springs woman, Lya Sorano, are being investigated by Georgia authorities to determine if Sorano has violated the terms under which her licenses to arrange adoptions in Georgia and Florida were revoked seven years ago.
"If we find evidence that she is operating as a child-placing agency in violation of a previous 1989 court order, then she may be in contempt of that order and punished accordingly," Attorney General Mike Bowers said.
THEY WERE SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES A DECADE AGO.
NOW, `DISAPPEARED' SALVADORAN CHILDREN SUCH AS GINA (ABOVE) ARE SURFACING IN THE US.
Author: Steve Fainaru, Globe Staff
AKRON, Ohio -- Resplendent in a white sweater and a gold Nike necklace that was a gift from her boyfriend, Gina got her picture taken at K Mart recently -- a portrait of an American teen-ager. She sent the photo to El Salvador, where it now hangs in the mud-and-sticks dwelling of Jose and Victoria Lainez.
There in a dank, dark room cooled by its dirt floor, Gina is known as Imelda. That was her name before she was snatched from a rebel hospital by Salvadoran soldiers in June 1984, deposited at an orphanage, then adopted by a well-meaning American family that changed her name and raised her in a northeast Ohio suburb.
SAN ANTONIO LOS RANCHOS, El Salvador -- Elsy Dubon Romero lost everything but her name one afternoon in 1982. As her mother cowered behind a thorn bush, and her father lay dead, a soldier grabbed the 7-year-old girl by the neck and loaded her onto a helicopter, which rose and disappeared into the blank sky.
Thus began her new life. From an army base, to a Red Cross shelter, she was shuttled finally to an orphanage near San Salvador, the capital. There she grew up, ordered never to talk about what had happened, and told that her family was dead.
Not until 12 years later, by then married and pregnant, did she learn the incredible truth: that her mother, Francisca Romero, was alive, along with five brothers and sisters who she vaguely remembered from a past that had seemed stolen from her.
"It all came back to me when I saw their faces," she said in an interview, quietly sobbing.
A judge has awarded custody of 19 adopted Haitian children to their father.
Dan Blackburn, although elated, says much work will be needed to repair the damage done to the children during the lengthy divorce proceedings.
Kathy Blackburn filed for divorce in December. During the custody hearing, she accused Blackburn of sexually molesting all 11 of their adopted daughters, and accused him of killing a crying baby by stuffing a rag into his mouth while the family lived in Haiti.
The Blackburns drew national attention by adopting 28 children, many very ill, while spending more than a decade as missionaries in Haiti.
Inter-country adoptions, Cambodia-style: As controversy rages, where are the safeguards?
Jason Barber reports.
TO Daniel Susott, they are "prisoners of charity." Thousands of children, trapped in orphanages around Cambodia, attracting foreign aid dollars but not necessarily what they need most - families.
Why not, he argues, open the doors and send them all abroad, to families willing and able to give them a future?
"The sum total of good that would result from emptying the orphanages would far outweigh the bad.
"Is it better to keep these people in orphanages as prisoners of charity, as magnets for foreign aid, in denial of giving them a charitable family who would give them everything, including an inheritance?
"At least crucify me for the truth," says Susott, founder of the NGO World Family Foundation. "All I want is for the real story to be told. We're battling forces of darkness and ignorance."
June 20, 1996
Author: Greg Easterly
GEORGETOWN -- A Williamson County jury Wednesday convicted Richard and Christine Dodson of starving and beating their adopted son almost to the point of death last summer. After a full day of testimony and an hour and a half of deliberation, the six-man, six-woman jury returned guilty verdicts for both defendants of intentionally causing serious bodily harm to the boy, now 6 years old.
The jury also convicted the former Round Rock couple of using a deadly weapon during commission of the of the crime -- prosecution witnesses testified the Dodsons used a wooden rod to spank the boy when he disobeyed.
Richard Dodson's defense attorney, Steve Brittian, said the Dodsons simply were trying to discipline the boy the best they knew how.
"They may deserve a lot of things -- to lose their world, their kids, everything," Brittian said. "But they may not deserve to be held up to the world as child abusers."
A story on Page B7 of Wednesday's edition about the trial of Richard and Christine Dodson, who are accused of abusing their two adopted children, should have said they adopted the children in December 1992 through the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services. The children were in no way associated with the Marywood Children and Family Services, as the story indicated.
Neighbor testifies child's punishment had racial overtone
June 12, 1996
Linda Latham Welch
A neighbor testified Tuesday that Christine Dodson told her she punished her young adopted son more severely than her other children because she didn't want him to become "a lazy black man." Dodson and her husband, Richard, who are white, are being tried in district court on charges of abusing their 6-year-old son, who doctors say was starved nearly to death, and their 5-year-old daughter, whose arms and leg were broken.
The boy and his sister are African American. The Dodsons force their son to run laps for hours around a tree in the front yard as punishment, regardless of of the weather.
The Dodsons lived in the Creek Bend subdivision in Round Rock. The Dodsons moved to Round Rock in 1993.
Raney said the worn path around the tree was not before they came. They moved to Jonestown after they were released on bond from the Williamson County Jail last fall.