WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – A woman adopted as a child from Russia and sexually abused by her millionaire adoptive American father who spread video of the abuse online has sued the father and 13 other men under a US law bearing her name, media reported.
The woman, adopted from a Russian orphanage in 1998 at the age of five and who is now 20 years old, was known as Masha Allen but now lives under a different name in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Courthouse News Service reported this week.
She is seeking at least $150,000 – the minimum payout under the “Masha’s Law” passed by the US Congress in 2006 – apiece from the adoptive father, Matthew Mancuso, and the 13 other men charged with possession of child pornography including images of her, the reports said.
Mancuso was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to over 15 years in prison. He was also ordered to deposit $200,000 in a trust fund for Allen, according to the Inquirer.
Under the terms of “Masha’s Law,” a provision of the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act named after her, victims of child pornography can sue each of their exploiters for at least $150,000 after turning 18 years old, Courthouse News said.
Allen is initially suing her father and 13 other men. However she has already received notifications from the US Justice Department informing her that “well over” 2000 people have been charged for possession of pornographic images of her, The Philadelphia Inquirer said.
In theory, every person charged with possessing pornographic images of her can be sued for at least $150,000 under the law, making Allen’s federal class action lawsuit potentially worth far more than the initial claims, the reports said.
They noted however the difficulty plaintiffs face in collecting damages in such cases as convicted pedophiles usually have few assets remaining after trial costs.
Allen’s lawyer said the defendants in the initial lawsuit had been identified as professionals including a doctor and lawyers who are believed to have assets worth pursuing in court, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.