Lubbock man arrested for sexually assaulting adoptive daughters

Date: 2010-12-22

A Lubbock man is facing 16 counts of continuous sexual abuse.

By Robin Pyle
Avalanche-Journal

A Lubbock man is facing 16 counts of continuous sexual abuse against children. Police say he sexually assaulted his four adoptive daughters for more than six years.

Lubbock authorities this week arrested Henrique Cruz, 51, in connection with abuse that allegedly started in 2001, shortly after Cruz and his wife adopted the girls, who ranged from ages 5 to 11 at the time, according to court documents.

This summer, Cruz admitted to a Lubbock CPS worker he had molested his four adoptive daughters over the years, according to his arrest warrant issued this week.

His attorney, Jeff Nicholson, said, “We expect to cooperate with law enforcement.” He added he hadn’t reviewed any reports yet of the specific allegations so he couldn’t comment further on Tuesday.

Nicholson said Cruz retained his services in July or August, shortly after authorities launched an investigation.

Police began investigating after one of the girls told her adoptive mother — Cruz’s ex-wife — he had repeatedly touched her private parts, according to the arrest warrant. The child said the sexual abuse began around the year 2002 and continued until she moved away from Cruz in June 2009.

One of the girls said the abuse started when she was 8 years old and that she and Cruz were alone in their house on 90th Street in Lubbock.

One of the girls said her adoptive father would sneak into the bathroom and act like he was bringing her a towel, according to court documents. Other times, the attacks would take place in the child’s bedroom.

The girl said when she got older, her adoptive father began to demand she allow him to touch her if she needed money or wanted to go somewhere, according to her statement to police.

She said he told her not to tell anybody, and she said she feared the repercussions if she did.

The girl said the abuse continued during visitations after her adoptive parents divorced in 2005.

Two of his adoptive daughters made statements to authorities, but two of the children have refused to talk with police or confirm the allegations.

The adoptive daughters now range in age from 14 to 20 years old.

According to court documents, Cruz admitted to molesting them all for years, starting before they were all 14.

The Cruz couple adopted the four girls, who were blood sisters, and their little brother, but it was unknown if the children were adopted from the foster care system.

Paul Zimmerman, regional spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the process to adopt a child from foster care in Texas comes with extensive background checks.

“It’s a pretty extensive process when it comes to screening,” he said.

Zimmerman noted the process included mandatory classes by adoptive parents as well as a home study, which in total could take as long as six months.

The state also requires a six-month check after the adoption has taken place just to “double check” that the situation is working out. However, the state doesn’t have any legal bounds for monitoring a family after the first six-month period has passed.

Zimmerman was checking to see if the agency had any details about the Cruz adoption that could be released, but didn’t get back to The Avalanche-Journal before deadline. He couldn’t comment on the case before checking records.

Cruz was being held in the Lubbock County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of a $150,000 bond, according to jail records. Cruz, who had a listed address in the 7500 block of 19th Street, was booked into the jail on Monday afternoon.

He didn’t have a prior criminal history in Lubbock County, according to courthouse records.

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Let's Review (part 2)

In another recent adoptive sexual abuse case, I reviewed the steps an American foster/adoptive parent must complete before a waiting child is chosen and placed in an agency-approved foster/adoptive home.  [See:  Let's Review, my response to an article related to Two girls adopted by John and Roseanne Kincheloe  ]

Today I found an article, on ezinemark, posted by author, Dustin Freund, a writer for a "premier adoption home study web site that answers all of your adoption home study questions".  Keep in mind, I do not wish/intend to criticize Mr. Freund; I want others to see the problems with, and not covered by a home-study, itself.  I also want to add,  I appreciate the simple-to-read steps Freund provides PAP's.  No where else have I seen/read the home-study process spelled-out as simply as it is found in the article found on ezinemark.  Whether Freund proves to be an authority on home-study issues and questions -- that, of course, is another question.

According to Dustin F, writer for a home-study website,  a home-study is required in all domestic adoptions, as it "ensures that the adoptee will be raised in a safe and loving home".  In addition, he explains, while some adoption agencies serve as licensed home-study providers, a PAP "will have to find their own home study provider, who will then assign a licensed social worker to their case." [Although, truth is, an adoption agency can recommend an
independent home-study service, one that provides, and assigns, a licensed social worker  to that particular case.]  

Without further adieu, there are five steps to an adoption home-study.

The first-step requires the collection of documents related to criminal history, health history, and financial security.  The criminal background study includes a state criminal check, an FBI criminal history report, and child abuse and neglect clearances.  [Health-care professionals may be familiar with this license and employment requirement.]  Once the criminal clearances are completed, health records are collected from the PAP's physician.  This will "ensure they are healthy enough to be parents".  [However, no mention is given to past/present mental health assessments or any psych evaluations that may assist the home-study provider.]  After health-clearance is obtained, financial information, like pay stubs and tax information is collected.  Last but not least, the social worker may need other documents, like birth certificates, marriage licenses, military discharges, copies of driver's license, reference letters, and proof of insurance and passports.  These collected documents may be given to the social worker when he/she visits the home for the first time.  This begins step two of the home-study process:  home inspection.  A social worker will visit and assess the PAP home for one basic reason:  ensure the home will be safe for chosen baby/child. 

Now, many adoptive families believe it is necessary to clean every inch of their home or they will be disqualified. While a tidy home is important, the social worker isnt going to disqualify a home study because she cant see her reflection in their kitchen floor.

No, the purpose of the inspection is to make sure certain items are accounted for in the home, such as a fence around a pool, fire escape plans posted on every floor of the home, firearms locked away in a safe, etc.

If there are any issues in the home, the social worker will make note of them and will ask the adoptive family to fix those issues by the next visit, if possible.

No mention is given if home/personal computers are checked by either social worker(s) or the FBI.  Those who know a thing or two about kiddie porn know exactly what a computer check means.

Next step in the home-study process is the in-home interview(s).  This is when the social worker interviews the future adoptive mother and father, together, and individually.  In addition, other family members living in the home will be questioned by the social worker assigned to that particular case.  [No mention is given if/when extended family members are, or would be, interviewed by a licensed social worker rendering an opinion on family-fitness and ability to raise an adopted child with many special needs.]

The social worker will ask them basic questions about their lives, as well as their motivations to adopt and their knowledge in being parents. The interviews detail the adoptive parents lives, such as their childhood, hobbies, goals, beliefs, values, and more, and they ensure that each family member is fully on-board with the adoption.

The interviews are important because they give the home study provider additional knowledge about the personality traits, past experiences and emotional characteristics of each family member.

This is where an adopted pup like me laughs my freaking ass off.

My Amother always gave a great interview.... her paper-work was always in-check, and when she knew she was being judged, she would always have the perfect response, with just the right amount of past hardship and honesty... with zero truth about her true, genuine feelings towards her parents, her family, her brother, her childhood, (not to mention her true feelings towards her marriage, her new-found infertility, her spouse, or HIS family... or any physical/emotional abuse she sustained.)  It is this stage a social worker should know a thing or two about wounded adult-children, sociopath personalities, and the family-history (and associated dynamics) that goes with a need-to-be-perfect pathological liar.  I should insert, too, based on information shared by Amothers who married physically/sexually abusive men,  many of those men kept their childhoods (and family-secrets) private.  Only AFTER the damage was done, did the spouse of an abusive Aparent admit, "There were serious problems that should have been addressed."

Step four in the home-study process:  Autobiography.

The autobiography is the written history of each of the adoptive parents. This is either written by each adoptive parent, or is recorded by the social worker during the interviews.

The autobiography is necessary because it gives the home study provider a glimpse into the adoptive familys lives, which is important because the home study provider is responsible for giving their approval for them to adopt a baby.

Enter the fictional account many-a-person will provide, when seeking outside approval.  Glossing over a disturbing or upsetting past does not mean old wounds have healed and the person being interviewed is emotionally mature, or able to parent properly.  Giving the 'correct answers' does not mean those answers reflect the candidate's honest (true) thoughts and feelings.

It's also important to note the way in which some fundamental religious groups (with violent teaching tendencies) are brainwashed, and trained to treat children.  They believe sparing the rod will spoil the child, which, in turn, has created a unique group of  seriously wounded (or beaten/tortured to death) chosen adopted children.   If a PAP can choose which homestudy service he/she will use, would it be any surprise if fundo religious conformists seek like-minded home-study professionals... people who agree with the harsh discipline methods used in those religious groups?

This brings us to the Home Study Report.

The home study report is a compilation of everything the social worker has collected: documentation, home tour results, interview notes, autobiographical statements, and everything else that was learned of the adoptive family. This report is submitted to the home study provider, and they will approve or disapprove the adoption home study.

[All inserted quotes from:  The 5 Steps Of An Adoption Home Study, January 17, 2011 ] 

Back to the case of four sexually abused adopted daughters... girls sexually abused by a man who got social worker/home-study approval.

One of the girls said the abuse started when she was 8 years old and that she and Cruz were alone in their house on 90th Street in Lubbock.

One of the girls said her adoptive father would sneak into the bathroom and act like he was bringing her a towel, according to court documents. Other times, the attacks would take place in the child’s bedroom.

The girl said when she got older, her adoptive father began to demand she allow him to touch her if she needed money or wanted to go somewhere, according to her statement to police.

She said he told her not to tell anybody, and she said she feared the repercussions if she did.

The girl said the abuse continued during visitations after her adoptive parents divorced in 2005.

Two of his adoptive daughters made statements to authorities, but two of the children have refused to talk with police or confirm the allegations.

The adoptive daughters now range in age from 14 to 20 years old.

According to court documents, Cruz admitted to molesting them all for years, starting before they were all 14.

In retrospect, how many think the social worker(s) assigned to this case did not investigate, or check, significant pieces of information, before rendering his/her professional opinion?

trivial details

The home study of Matthew Mancuso, as performed by Nancy Simproni, in 1997, gives an answer to your question. There is significant information the social worker did not ask, or check, or at least did not submit in the report. The home study doesn't answer questions about the desire to have a girl of a specific age, and it doesn't follow up on the alienation of his biological daughter.

It's not only interesting to read that home study to see the obvious omissions, but also the level of attention to trivial details. It really is an excercize in futility.

Let me give a few examples:

As a child, Mr. Mancuso enjoyed taking art classes along with music lessons. He was an accomplished accordion player as a young child due to his grandfathers influence. As a teenager he played the organ, trumpet, guitar and the drums. Mr. Mancuso played the drums for a high school rock group with his cousin and brother. They successfully had one paying job before breaking up the band.

In high school Mr. Mancuso played football and was on the wrestling and track teams. He also was a member of the chess club. He took academic course and would take the higher level math and science classes, often he was ahead of his other class mates. His grades were above average and upon graduation had taken calculus, physics, nuclear science, chemistry, biology and anatomy. At that time Mr. Mancuso was planning to attend college and becoming a chiropractor.

During high school Mr. Mancuso began working at the same company where he is now employed with the janitorial department. His job consisted of sweeping the floor, emptying the trash and scrubbing the bathrooms. Eventually he worked with other departments, the weld shoe, the machine shop. the paint shop, the maintenance shop and the parts warehouse. He saved his money and before he graduated high school Mr. Mancuso had bought and paid for his first car, a used 1969 Firebird.

Of what interest is it to the adoption of a child that Mr. Mancuso was an accomplished accordion player, and that he played drums in a band, that his first car was a used 1969 Firebird, and what the duties of a janitor are. I wonder how many homestudy actually read more like the classifieds than  than a report investigating a person's ability to nurture, and protect, a child put in his/her care.

Dear Adoption Specialist: What were you thinking?

Ah, the 'independent' service provider, hired to study a home, and render a professional opinion (via written report).  Is there no greater paid-position for the social worker sick of child-welfare and CPS?

 The Mancuso files do indeed shed light on what a social worker will uncover and find, for the sake of an adoptable child, still languishing in-care. 

In the first Masha Allen adoption, the social worker working the case was no rookie, making typical rookie mistakes.  In fact, the social worker who interviewed and investigated Mancuso's past boasts she had over 14 (fourTEEN) years of job-experience.  The suggestion being, she was a seasoned bull-shit detector, very capable of asking more than a few in-depth questions that may have be seen as intrusive by a man like Mancuso. According to the first homestudy report for Masha Allen, the social worker writes:

I have a Master's degree in Social Work and over fourteen years experience doing adoptions. I have the authority to conduct home studies for Family Adoption Center, a licensed adoption agency/home study agency in the State of Pennsylvania.

The interviews were conducted by a Master's degree licensed social worker with over fourteen years of adoption experience.

The study was conducted in the office of Family Adoption Center and in Mr. Mancuso’s home. It consisted of a written application, a medical statement from his physician, child abuse and criminal record checks, three reference letters, financial and income tax statements and intensive interviews with Mr. Mancuso.

Color me crazy, but where is the intensive interview information from his ex-wife's and his daughter?  Were they asked to render an opinion -- should Mancuso be approved to adopt a young girl, why or not? Very little information about his marriage, divorce, and daughter's fading interest gets mentioned.  Instead, a SW, with a Master's degree, and 14 (fourTEEN) years of adoption experience renders the following professional opinion, based on 'intensive interviews' and collected documents:

It is the recommendation of this licensed social worker that Mr. Matthew Mancuso be approved for the international adoption of a young child.

He is a caring, loving man who misses the parenting rule that he had with his daughter. He is`a highly moral individual and will provide not just a financially stable home but the ability to parent a child with values; He is committed to having a family and is willing to make the necessary adjustments to his home and to his lifestyle to insure that the best interests of a child are paramount.

Allow me to remind readers Mancuso's little hobby.... one that involved a young girl (from Russia), a camera, and the Internet:  The Blurry Boundaries of Child Porn

Allow me to remind readers how another MSW,LCSW conducted Mancuso's post placement report -- via telephone

Allow me to repeat myself over and over again.... Matthew Mancuso is neither the first, nor the last adoptive parent to sexually abuse and exploit a chosen child...an adoptee, sent to live in a social-worker/home-study approved home.

How is a child's best interest being served, if this is the way a social worker functions and operates, when working independently, within the adoption industry?   I see no reason to thank or praise.  In fact, I think, somehow, social workers like this ought to pay for their oversights and mistakes.  

Pound Pup Legacy