Child Pornography Victim Shares Story on Capitol Hill

Date: 2006-05-04


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Chilling testimony from a girl. She's just 13 years old, sexually abused for years by her adoptive father, speaking out to stop Internet predators.
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Welcome back, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Miles O'Brien. We're glad you're with us this morning. It was a spell-binding, terrifying hearing on Capitol Hill. A young Russian girl who thought she was headed to a better life instead became the victim of her pedophile adopted father. Just one small story that is part of the scourge of Internet pornography.

Here is CNN's Andrea Koppel.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Masha Allen was just five when a divorced businessman from Pittsburgh adopted her from a Russian orphanage. The first night in her new home, he made her sleep in his bed.

MASHA ALLEN, CHILD PORN VICTIM: At first I thought it might be normal because, you know, some little kids sleep with their parents. But then after the first night, I figured out that there was something wrong because he tried to touch me or something.

KOPPEL: Her adoptive father was a pedophile, and in testimony Wednesday before a House committee, a shy yet stoic Masha, now 13, described her five years of hell.

ALLEN: He molested me all the time. He made me dress up in adult's clothes and even pretended to marry me. Sometimes he kept me chained in the basement.

KOPPEL: Other witnesses spoke of international adoption agencies that operated without sufficient legal oversight.

MAUREEN FLATLEY, ADOPTION LOBBYIST: The process that went on in Masha's adoption was actually typical.


FLATLEY: So it begs the question in our minds, how many other Mashas are there out there? The fact is, no one knows. But the fact is, we are quite certain that there are.

KOPPEL: Now two years after Matthew Mancuso, her adoptive father, was jailed, Masha is speaking out, angered by the countless pornographic pictures of her, which she now knows he sold or traded on the Internet .

ALLEN: Because Matthew put my pictures are on the Internet, the abuse is still going on. Anyone could see them. People are still downloading them.

KOPPEL (on camera): Masha and her supporters are urging Congress to back new legislation called Masha's Law, raising the civil penalties for anyone who downloads child pornography. Masha says under current law, the penalties for illegally downloading a song are three times tougher than for someone who downloads a picture from her years of torment.

Andrea Koppel, CNN, Capitol Hill.


S. O'BRIEN: That's a terrible story.

Happening this morning in America, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security is set to appear in court. He's accused of being an online sexual predator. Brian Doyle will officially hear the charges against him today, and then bond's going to be set.


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