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Bakersfield man charged with molesting children adopted from overseas


Bakersfield man charged with molesting children adopted from overseas

A 53-year-old Bakersfield man is accused of molesting four young boys, all children adopted from an orphanage in Ukraine. John Krueger will be in court on the felony charges next week.

"The charges against me are false," Krueger told Eyewitness News.

Bakersfield Police Detective Ryan Paslay says the case started with reports from one boy. "During the latter part of December 2005, we received information that John Krueger was a possible suspect in a child molestation involving an 11-year-old male who was the child of an acquaintance."

Krueger's lawyer tells Eyewitness News the other alleged victims are children Krueger took into his home.

"Mr. Krueger within the past several years has adopted three young boys from the Ukraine, and he is accused by the complaint that's been filed of having sexually molested those three boys as well as another boy adopted in the Ukraine by a woman who lives in Fresno," said attorney Greg Mitts.

Krueger has a website where he discusses his experience adopting the children, and explains why he adopted the children from an orphanage in Ukraine.

On the website, Krueger describes himself as a "single male, recently divorced, with one child who doesn't live with me." Krueger's site adds, "Recently I decided that I would like to adopt a child before I got much older."

The site also says Krueger decided to adopt in Ukraine "because that is the only country in the world that would allow a single man to adopt a Caucasian child."

Police reports in the case state the oldest alleged victim told investigators the molestation happened over a two-year period at the Quality Inn on Oak Street. The police report says Krueger owns and lives at the Quality Inn.

Investigators say the victim reported lewd touching by Krueger. Krueger has been charged with one charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child, and three charges of lewd acts with a child under 14 years old.

The police report in the case also says there had been previous allegations against Krueger in 1991 and 1996.

One document states, "In 1996 a report was made by a 16 year old boy. He indicated in the mid 1980's, when he was approximately 8 years of age, John Krueger had molested him."

That report says due to statute of limitations issues, this case was not prosecuted.

Eyewitness News looked into the process of checking on the background of a potential adoptive parent. Experts say in the U.S. that includes a criminal background check, review of financial stability and a "home study" -- these are usually done by the adoption agency.

A website on adoption in Ukraine says there is only one legal adoption agency in Ukraine. "The National Adoption Center, a part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education, is the only legal Ukrainian authority for adoptions," says the site.

This site also says a judge makes the decision to approve an adoption, adding that the judge's ruling is "based only on a review of the documents pertaining to the adoption."

Attorney Greg Mitts says Krueger went through all the steps appropriate for a home study. "Any type of home study or background check would have been performed by the orphanage in the Ukraine," says Mitts.

"I also believe, however, that since he came back to the U.S., he's gone through the formal adoption process in the U.S. to adopt the boys under the laws of the United States, and that has been completed there. Nothing turned up in the background that would have stopped that."

Krueger was also a host to children through a Russian exchange program. The director of that organization told Eyewitness News they had no complaints from the two boys who were hosted by Krueger.

2006 Apr 13