Suspect in alleged assaults fights charges

Date: 2006-04-19

Author: LISA SCHENCKER, Californian staff writere-mail: lschencker@bakersfield.com

A Bakersfield hotel owner accused of molesting three boys he adopted from Ukraine and another boy said his Web site is being used against him.

John Krueger, owner of the Quality Inn at 1011 Oak St., was charged April 5 with three felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years and one felony count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Krueger, 53, has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and a "pre-preliminary" hearing is scheduled for Thursday. A preliminary hearing to decide if there's enough evidence to go trial is scheduled for Friday.

"They're all bogus charges, and I'm innocent," Krueger said. "People who know me and my children, they know there's no way."

The investigation began after an 11-year-old family friend told his mother that Krueger had touched him inappropriately three times last year, according to police reports. Police then questioned Krueger's three boys, ages 11, 9 and a third aged 7 or 8.

The 11-year-old family friend also said he had witnessed Krueger molesting the other boys, according to police reports.

Krueger's three children and another Ukranian boy who was temporarily in his care were placed into protective custody Dec. 30, 2005. Krueger has not been charged with molesting the boy temporarily in his care. Krueger was arrested the following day, according to police reports. Krueger has been released on $100,000 bail.

This is not the first time Krueger has faced accusations of child molestation, according to the reports.

He was also accused in 1991 of molesting a boy years earlier, when the boy was between the ages of 9 and 13, according to police reports. The boy, who was 16 when he made the allegations, did not wish to take legal action against Krueger, according to police reports.

Krueger was accused in 1996 of molesting another boy he met at church from 1988 to 1990. That boy also was about 16 in 1996 when he accused Krueger of molesting him eight years earlier. That case never made it to court because too much time had elapsed since the alleged incidents, said John Somers, supervising deputy district attorney.

It is The Californian's policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault whenever possible.

A Web site created by Krueger that featured pictures of his sons and his story of adopting them has been blocked from viewing since the charges were filed.

Krueger said Monday the Web site was being perceived as something it's not. The Web site, www.John-Krueger.com, has been quoted and paraphrased in the media since charges were filed against Krueger April 5.

In one of the most quoted sections of the Web site, Krueger said he adopted boys from Ukraine because it is "the only country in the world that would allow a single man to adopt a Caucasian child."

He explains on the site that he decided as a single, divorced man he wanted to adopt children before he "got much older." He describes himself as a "proud father."

Krueger said the site was made in innocence.

"They're demonizing my Web site," Krueger said. "I didn't adopt for vulgar reasons. I adopted because I love kids."

Krueger declined to comment further and referred questions to his attorney, Gregory Mitts.

Attempts to reach Mitts on Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Different countries have different requirements for those who want to adopt. Ukraine allows married and single people to adopt children as long as there is at least a 15-year age difference between the child and adult, according to the U.S. Department of State Web site.

Some other countries, such as South Korea, are more stringent, only granting children to married couples, according to the site.

Those who want to adopt from Ukraine, however, do have to present a "no criminal record" statement supplied by a state authority, according to the site.

Parents are also required to undergo "home studies" during which they're interviewed about their lives and expectations before adopting.

In 2003, 702 U.S. immigrant visas were issued to orphans from Ukraine, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Beth Mizell, director of international adoptions for the New Hope Child and Family Agency based in Washington, said her agency checks for both criminal convictions and unfounded or inconclusive allegations against prospective parents.

She said her agency looks for patterns of such allegations, even if they're never proven, before allowing an adoption.

She said multiple past allegations of child molestation, such as in Krueger's case, would be a red flag and a possible reason not to facilitate an adoption.

"You can never know absolutely for certain, 100 percent," Mizell said. "It's just is such a sad situation."

Somers said allegations such as those against Krueger from 1996 and 1991 were not public record before now.

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