U.S. Couple Lose Adopted Boy
MOSCOW - A newly adopted 3-year-old boy was taken away from his American parents at the Ukraina hotel, where they were staying, after a woman called police to report that he was being abused in a hotel cafe, an official said Friday.
The boy was placed in a children's home, and prosecutors are considering whether to charge the couple with child abuse, said Viktor Pronin, an assistant to the prosecutor for Moscow's Dorogomilovo District.
The U.S. Embassy issued a harsh rebuke to Russian authorities over their handling of the case, accusing them of "double standards" and possibly breaking the law.
The embassy said in a statement that authorities forcibly removed the child from the parents' custody and questioned the parents for "many hours." It also said police and prosecutors failed to call in child welfare experts to help establish the true facts of the case.
The embassy said it was revealing that Moskovsky Komsomolets had not mentioned any of this in a front-page article that it published Friday.
Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that the woman who called police claimed to have seen the adoptive mother grab the boy by the throat in an attempt to keep him quiet. It published the names of the couple and their photographs under the front-page headline "A Boy for Beating." Other national media quickly picked up the story.
"While the U.S. Embassy is limited in its ability to respond to these allegations because of privacy laws, the article appeared intended to further inflame growing public hysteria over foreign adoptions, obscuring the facts and ignoring Russia's own laws designed to protect the innocent children," the embassy said.
"The unusual attention to and handling of this case by Russian authorities and the Russian press suggests that a double standard exists for Americans and other foreigners with respect to child welfare," it said.
The embassy also said Moskovsky Komsomolets and police appeared to have violated Article 155 of the Criminal Code by revealing and publishing identities and details about the case without the consent of the adoptive parents.