MOSCOW, July 1 (RAPSI) - Children's Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has reported another case of a Russian child being violently abused abroad.
"US citizen Mark Newton and his partner from New Zealand, Peter Truong, paid $8,000 to a Russian woman to be their surrogate in 2005. The sexual abuse began just after the couple obtained sole custody of the boy, with photo and video recording of the crimes," he reported on Twitter.
"Moreover, the child was offered up for sex to at least eight more pedophiles in France, Germany and the United States where the couple traveled to make porn films. This is probably not the only case of sexual exploitation of Russian adoptees," Astakhov said.
Newton has been convicted by an American district court. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison and ordered to pay $400,000 compensation to the child.
"Truong is awaiting sentencing in New Zealand," Astakhov said.
On February 18, Astakhov announced the death of three-year-old Maxim Kuzmin in his adoptive US family. He tweeted that the child had been given powerful "psychotropic substances" and has been badly beaten before his death in the hospital on January 21. Alan and Laura Shatto also adopted Maxim's two-year-old brother, Kirill, who is still living with the couple.
Maxim's death is one of those rare cases when it is extremely difficult to determine the real culprit, Astakhov cited Ector County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Gary Duesler as having said.
Of the roughly 60,000 Russian children adopted by US parents since the collapse of the Soviet Union, at least 20 have died in the care of their adoptive parents. Russian officials suggest that many more adopted children have suffered neglect or abuse, but say finding records and documentation to support these claims has been difficult.
The Russian adoption ban came in just days after US President Barack Obama signed the controversial Magnitsky Act - a law banning Russian officials deemed guilty by Washington of human rights abuses from obtaining visas to enter the United States and freezing any US assets they may have.
The Dima Yakovlev law prohibiting US nationals from adopting Russian children was signed by President Vladimir Putin at the end of 2012 and came into force in January 2013.
Dima Yakovlev, who was then 21 months old, died in July 2008 after his adoptive father Michael Harrison left him in a locked car in a parking lot for nine hours. Harrison was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.