Manslaughter of foster kid lands US couple on Russia’s wanted list

The country may issue an international arrest warrant for an American couple who killed their Russian-born adoptive son.

A court in Pennsylvania handed down a guilty verdict on the Cravers on November 18, finding them guilty of the unpremeditated murder of their son, adopted in Russia. Each received 16 months in jail on counts of involuntary homicide. Taking into account the time spent in custody since March 2010, the couple were freed.

Moscow officials believe the decision was “flagrantly irresponsible.”

“The punishment is too easy,” said Russian Vice Consul in New York, Aleksandr Otchainov. “As a matter of fact, they were set free – after they brutally and intentionally killed their adopted son, a Russian citizen.”

Seven-year-old Vanya Skorobogatov died in August 2009 from a skull injury. Doctors at first connected the child to an artificial respirator, but the life-support system was switched off on the adoptive parents’ insistence.

Both adoptive parents claimed Vanya had sustained his head injury, when he struck himself against the fireplace at home. They said the boy was suffering from a serious psychiatric disorder. During the fits, he was beating himself against the wall.

An examination revealed there were more than 80 bruises on the boy’s body and 20 on the head. The boy was starved to exhaustion.

Skorobogatov’s death, along with other such cases, forced Russia to suspend all international adoptions in April 2010.

In July 2011, Lavrov and Clinton signed a new inter-country adoption agreement ensuring such cases will not take place in the future. It was worked out after seven rounds of negotiations.

Moscow and Washington agreed that any adoption of Russian children may only be conducted through a licensed agency. Foster children will retain Russian citizenship until they reach adulthood, while their adoptive parents will have to report on their health and mental condition regularly.

Russian laws will also be taken into account in courts reviewing any conflicts or crimes involving such children.

Since 1996, at least 17 Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive US parents.

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