Child Porn Victim Could Help Keep Abuser In Prison
Orange Co. Investigators Travel To Home Of Girl Featured In Explicit Photos
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orange County detectives are traveling to the home of a young Internet child pornography victim.
In an exclusive interview with WESH 2 News, the girl said she wants the man who exploited her brought to justice.
WESH 2 News's Bob Kealing visited the girl in her new home, with her new adoptive mother.
"I was just happy. I was like, 'Yeah, that's my Mom,'' said 12-year-old Mea.
Her life has finally changed for the better. Last year, she was adopted by 28-year-old Faith.
"I'm just really grateful that it happened because I'm just grateful I have someone who really cares about me," Mea said.
"She's really funny. She comes up with some off-the-wall stuff and I say, 'Where did you get that from?'" Faith said.
It's a wonder Mea can laugh at all. Since she was very young, investigators say she was sexually abused and forced to pose for humiliating pictures, including several taken at a Disney World resort.
"She had nightmares at night. I would stay up with her, talking with her, holding her, whatever she needed," Faith said.
Last year, Mea's own adoptive father, 46-year-old Matthew Alan Mancuso of suburban Pittsburgh, was convicted of producing the photos and sentenced to 15 years in prison. But he has not been tried for raping her.
"I think it's wrong how he didn't get charged with half the things he did, and I don't think that should happen to anybody," Mea said.
"I want to see him in prison for the rest of his life. He will never suffer the way my daughter did," Faith said.
The Orange County detective heading up the investigation said he believes Mea can provide crucial testimony against Mancuso.
"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," said Lt. Matt Irwin, of the Orange County Sheriffs Department.
"Based on what you've seen, is that where he needs to be?" WESH 2 News's Bob Kealing asked.
"Absolutely, without a doubt," Irwin said.
"She wants to do whatever she has to do to get that done," Faith said.
After seeing WESH 2's interview with Mea, Irwin said he's more optimistic that she is strong enough to face down her former father in court.
"As tragic as it is for her, we're in good shape on our case, I think," Irwin said.
Until the time comes, Mea can finally enjoy the things most 12-year-old girls take for granted.
"I want to do a lot more stuff, like go places, do things, and just have fun with my friends and my family," Mea said.
Orange-Osceola state attorney Lawson Lamar said his office is working with the sheriff's department to try and build a case against Mancuso.
"The victim in this case should not have to fear ever seeing him on the street. If sufficient evidence is gathered, we will try to see that he spends the rest of his life in prison," Lamar said.
Our exclusive investigation is bringing international reaction, especially in Toronto where an Internet child exploitation task force first drew attention to the photos.
"Watching your story brought tears to my eyes. Her strength will help give us strength to continue to do our job. Thanks for putting a voice to a little girl we have wondered about for far too long," said Detective Constable Bill McGarry, of the Toronto Police Service.