Against Gay Adoption
The gay fathers of a six-year-old Australian boy have been arrested in Los Angeles after being indicted on child sexual exploitation charges relating to their own son.
The men, XX, 42, a citizen of the United States and resident of Australian, and his partner, ZZ, 32, an Australian citizen, were arrested in a 6am raid at the home of XX's aunt in Los Angeles, on Thursday morning. A third man, ABC, a lawyer from Florida, has also been arrested and indicted, and is named as the lead defendant. He is further charged with procuring a boy aged between eight or nine for sexual exploitation.
The indictment alleges the gay couple's son was induced and coerced by all three defendants to appear in sexually explicit images and videos, either by himself or with the lead defendant, ABC. All men are charged with counts of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and the sexual exploitation of a child. The indictment carries no direct information on what the seized material allegedly depicts. The boy is a joint Australian and US citizen with grandparents and relatives both in both Australian and the United States.
In October last year, Los Angeles police pulled another Australian man, a friend of XX's and ZZ's, who was driving on a freeway with the boy in the car after taking him for a museum visit. This man has not been arrested and has returned to Australia. The boy was taken in the custody of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services and has been in their care since. The boy's fathers have had long discussions with certain members of the press, including this reporter, and vehemently protested their innocence. Both men claimed they were being victimized as gay fathers. Both claimed they were not aware of any explicit material involving their son. The couple said they thought the authorities had some harmless video material of their son fooling around which had been misconstrued as sexual material.
The indictment claims XX and ZZ knowingly gave RJP access to the boy for explicit sexual purposes and that material was distributed on the internet. ZZ's father, speaking from Brisbane, and who was at the Lakewood home in California when the arrests were made last week, said he was shocked to see ZZ and XX handcuffed and led away wearing little but their underpants. He said he was deeply concerned that his son would be persecuted in prison as a child molester. He saw his grandson at a supervised visit the afternoon before the arrests and is anxious for the boy. “I don’t think he’s OK. He’s Australian - hersquo;s grown up here in north Queensland.”
ZZ's mother said she had nursed her grandson since he was three weeks old and strongly believed he had never been molested by his parents.
I'm so close with him, she said of the boy. I know him inside out. I know everything about him. He is a happy and healthy boy. We want him home. If he was adopted out to strangers it would be a disaster for both our families. She was afraid of the therapy the boy was receiving from the LA Children and Family Services, fearing he was being coached to be a victim. XX's father, speaking from Arizona, said he had been unable to talk to his son since his arrest, and both families were trying to regain shared custody of the boy. It's affecting all of us, the man said. Because he’s our grandson. We’re trying to get him here in Arizona. He's got cousins, uncles and grandparents. He's an Australian citizen but he's also a US citizen. He's our biological grandson. XX and ZZ are in the custody of US Marshalls in a federal detention centre. XX's aunt, who believes in her nephew’s and ZZ's innocence and was present during the arrests, said she was deeply distressed by what had happened.
I know they're innocent in my heart, the aunt said. We know them and the type of people they are. They just walked into this. Three associates of ZZ and XX were arrested in an international child porn internet swoop last year, which may have been the genesis of the case against the couple. They claim they had no knowledge of their acquaintances’ alleged activities. It is understood the fathers, who were represented by public defenders at a brief hearing on the day of their arrest, will be shifted from Los Angeles to Indianapolis, Indiana, where the grand jury indicted the three men.
One of the charges relates to an alleged incident on October 21, last year, in Indiana. The child protection agency and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a division of US Homeland Security, declined to comment on the case.
In conversations and correspondence, the fathers were distraught that their son, who had been born to a surrogate mother, had been taken from them. They said they were only allowed strictly supervised visits and insisted their son had made no complaints of abuse. Court documents show XX has asserted his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to remain silent. Family members said there was a court hearing relating to the future of the child held in LA last Tuesday, at which no new information against the two dads was forthcoming. This appears this provoked US authorities to act, holding a grand jury session in Indiana the following day, where charges were laid.