Child porn victim speaks out against her abuser

Date: 2005-05-26

A 12-year-old girl who survived years as a victim of child pornography is lashing out at the man who abused her -- her adoptive father.

The girl can't be identified, but her story is well known to many. In February, her story shot to international attention when Toronto police released the crime scene photos.

Desperate to locate the girl they'd watched appear in hundreds of pornographic photos since 2002, police decided to release digitally-altered pictures of the locations where the girl had been abused.

They did not reveal the victim's face, however, as they digitally removed her image from the scenes. The altered photos, they hoped, might prompt someone to recognize the location.

As the search drew growing attention, it came to light the girl was in fact safe and living with a new adoptive mother.

In an interview this week with NBC affiliate WESH 2 News, the adoptive mother, Faith, said her daughter had been abused ever since 46-year-old Matthew Mancuso brought the little girl from Russia to Pittsburgh.

For years, Faith said, the girl was forced to have sex against her will, and submit to having inappropriate photos taken of her in all manner of public places -- including a Disney resort in Florida.

"She knew it wasn't normal, but she was scared. He told her no one would believe her, or there was just no way out of it," Faith said.

Mancuso, who took hundreds of sexually explicit photos of the girl, was convicted of federal porn charges related to the production of pornography featuring his own adopted daughter.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison for that crime, but the fact rape charges have not been heard in court disappoints his young victim.

"I think it's wrong that he didn't get charged with half the stuff he did and I don't think that should happen to anybody," she said.

According to Faith, that wasn't even beginning of the little girl's woes.

"When she was in Russia with her parents, she was stabbed in the back of her neck where she still has scars," Faith said.

And, even though her days as a cyber porn prisoner are now over, the girl's adoptive mother says the trauma continues.

"She is scarred for life," she said. "Her pictures are on the Internet and they can't be stopped. There is no way of stopping them completely."

Bolstered by the strength of her faith, the 12-year-old believes she can find a way to endure what lies ahead.

"Since I know I have people that are backing me up and are there for me, it makes things easier because I know that they're there for me, so with them I can do anything."

The Orange County Sheriffs Department detective leading the investigation in Florida believes the girl just might be able to turn the case against her former tormenter.

"If she shows up in court and testifies, I firmly believe he's going to be looking at the rest of his life in prison," Lt. Matt Irwin said.

With files from CTV News


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