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Children in adoption scam show signs of sexual abuse

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Friday, January 20, 2012

FOUR of the 10 children rescued during an alleged adoption scam to sell babies to Irish couples have shown signs of sexual abuse.

Eleven Irish couples are being questioned in Mexico in relation to the apparent child selling racket. The Irish embassy in Mexico is providing consular advice to the couples involved.

Authorities have arrested four Mexican women and two men, and seized nine children between the ages of two months and two years old, in relation to the investigation.

The women reportedly took a number of children to a hotel in Guadalajara where they met the Irish couples intending to adopt.

Jalisco state attorney general Tomas Coronado yesterday confirmed that four of the 10 children had shown signs of sexual abuse after medical examination.

"There are four children who show signs of having been abused (sexually), perhaps not in a violent way but there are signs (of abuse)," he said.

Mr Coronado said that he could not elaborate further as the matter was under investigation and declined to say when the alleged abuse took place.

It is believed the foreign couples were paying 1,200 pesos (€70) a week to the mothers since pregnancy and were paying for their medical care. Following this, they were to be paid to allow the children to stay with the couples during the so-called adoption process.

"The great majority of the people from Ireland who have given their testimony have said they thought it was part of the adoption protocol in the state to be paying and that obviously means (someone was making) a profit throughout the adoption process," he said.

Mr Coronado said that authorities are trying to establish if the Irish couples had "acted in bad faith" or had been duped.

Carlos Lopez, the lawyer at the centre of the investigation, has denied any knowledge of the alleged child trafficking operation and said he has helped around 60 Irish couples adopt legally from Mexico since 2004.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

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