Statement by the Honorable Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Sexual Exploitation of Children Over the Internet:
Follow Up Issues to the Masha Allen Adoption
September 27, 2006
Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thank you for dedication to this important issue.
Like my colleagues, I was shocked and very disturbed by our May 3 hearing which focused on a brave little girl, Masha Allen. Masha’s courage and dignity were so apparent, and was an inspiration for us all. However, what wasn’t apparent was how this little girl could have slipped through the cracks of the safeguards supposedly adhered to during an international adoption. Shouldn’t there have been someone out there that was supposed to look in on this little girl? Shouldn’t there have been someone to make sure that she was safe with this single man who specifically wanted to adopt a five year old girl? Shouldn’t there have been someone who had talked with Mancuso’s biological children to find out if he would be a good father—and thus find out that he had molested his own daughter when she was just a little girl? Shouldn’t there have been someone to check out the home and make sure this little girl had her own bed? The answer to all these questions is, yes, of course, someone should have done this. And, today, we have before us the individuals charged with this responsibility. One of you could have saved this little girl from the life of horror that she endured for so many years.
I hope that today’s hearing will provide further answers to what could have been done to save Masha earlier. I know that it is all of our hopes that no other little girls or boys will have to suffer the same way Masha did.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for you dedication and continued leadership in this most serious and troubling of issues.