A U.S. couple in Silsbee, Texas, accused of abusing their three adopted Russian children have renounced their parental rights, Channel One state television said Thursday.
The parents, Michael and Penny Deckert, said they were tired of false allegations of abuse, Channel One reported.
The development comes a day after Russia's Investigative Committee opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that the Deckerts abused their three Russian children, Alexei, Anastasia and Svetlana Klimov, who were adopted in 2003 from Krasnokamsk in the Perm region.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said the two girls were in foster care pending an inquiry by the local sheriff's department, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday. The boy, aged 17 or 18, ran away from the Deckerts' home more than a year ago and is currently in a database of missing children.
The adoptive mother has denied the allegations.
U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul said Thursday that any Americans responsible for abusing children should be punished, no matter where the children are from.
“We think that we have a common interest with Russia in pursuing criminals in the U.S. and throughout the world,” McFaul said at a Public Chamber event in Moscow, according to Interfax.
The Deckert case follows the death in January of 3-year-old Max Shatto, a Russian child adopted by a Texas couple last year, whose case has been touted by Russian officials as proof that a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children passed last year is justified.
Texas authorities have said the death was accidental, but Russia has been skeptical of that judgment, saying there are inconsistencies in the case materials.
A Russian delegation is planning a trip to the U.S. later this month to discuss the treatment of Russian adoptees in the United States, children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Thursday, Interfax reported.