US woman told to pay for abandoned Russian boy
Saturday 19 May 2012
An American woman who adopted a Russian boy and later sent him back to Moscow on a one-way flight has been ordered to pay $150,000 (£95,000) and produce an additional $1,000 (£633) a month in child support.
A judge in Tennessee said Torry Hansen must begin making the child support payments in June and continue to pay until the boy, who is nine, turns 18. Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell said the $150,000 Hansen must pay included damages for breach of contract, legal fees and support for the boy.
Hansen sent Artyom Saveliev back to Russia in April 2010 with a letter saying he was disturbed, violent and that she did not want him anymore.
The incident created an international uproar and prompted Russia to temporarily put a moratorium on its adoption programme with the US. Afterwards, the World Association for Children and Parents, the agency that helped Hansen to adopt Artyom, began legal action seeking child support.
Hansen has since moved to California and has failed to show up at any of the hearings. She has hired three separate Tennessee lawyers to represent her but the last one, it is said, has been granted permission to leave the case.
Hansen could not immediately be reached for comment, but her mother said the Russian Federation Supreme Court had annulled the adoption so her daughter owed no child support.
Adoption advocates hailed the order as a measure of justice and said the ruling would show there are consequences to abandoning adopted children.
The motivation behind the action against Hansen was to deter anyone from doing anything similar and to show the Russians that "you cannot do this in America and get away with it", Larry Crain, a lawyer who represents the adoption agency, said.
Court documents say the boy was in hospital for three weeks after he returned to Moscow. He was later moved to an orphanage and then sent to another institution.
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