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Status conference set for Hansen situation


Friday, October 8, 2010

By BRIAN MOSELY ~ bmosely@t-g.com

A status conference is scheduled for Monday in Bedford County Juvenile Court concerning a petition in the case of a Russian boy sent back to his homeland by his adoptive mother.

In April, adoptive mother Torry Hansen sent 7-year-old Justin A. Hansen, also known as Artyom Savelyev, back to Moscow without an adult escort, triggering an international uproar over the adoption of Russian children.

One month later, the World Association for Children and Parents filed a petition requesting that Bedford County's Circuit Court appoint the agency as a temporary guardian for the boy, who is now eight years of age.

General Sessions Judge Charles Rich, who also handles juvenile court matters, will hold the status conference, which is a pre-trial meeting of attorneys to inform the court how the case is proceeding.

The matter was moved to juvenile court in August after an agreed order was signed by both parties.

Attorney Larry L. Crain, who represents the adoption agency, stated in May that the grounds for the motion "is a declaration that the minor child is dependant and neglected ..." as defined by Tennessee state law and that "the Juvenile Court is vested with exclusive jurisdiction to hear such cases."

Crain also filed an amended petition that sets forth additional ground for the relief sought in the case and named Jennifer Terhune, as a co-petitioner, who is described in court papers as "an adopted mother who is willing to serve as guardian for the minor child."

Crain said in May that they went to court out of frustration that no one was investigating claims that the Hansens abandoned and endangered the child.

The boy's adoptive grandmother, Nancy Hansen, stayed with the boy until they reached an airport in Virginia, but she left him in the care of flight attendants for the flight overseas.

However, since the incident occurred in April, local authorities have said they have not been able to file any charges against the Hansens because there is no evidence that any crime was committed in Bedford County.

In August, the Hansens told the T-G that e-mails between adoption workers involved with the case appeared to indicate that reports about the placement of the child to Russian officials may have been "fudged."

A little over a week before the child was sent back to Moscow, an e-mail conversation was inadvertently forwarded to Torry Hansen which suggested that adoption workers altered information in the post-placement report that was to be passed along to the Russians.

The Hansens no longer live in Tennessee, the T-G was told.

2010 Oct 8