Justice Minister Ana Birchall has said on Monday that she will discuss with interim Attorney General Bogdan Licu and the magistrates of the Justice Crime Investigation Section (SIIJ) for “gestures” like those in the case of the adopted girl from Baia de Arama should not be repeated.
“I am sorry to have witnessed such a thing. It is unacceptable. I will never tolerate such abuse. I understand the existence of an ongoing investigation has been confirmed. From my point of view, I would like that never again in Romania,” Birchall said upon entering the headquarters of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM).
Asked if the girl had been declared wanted by the Border Police, Birchall said she did not know, but she would offer the press details as soon as she was informed.
“We are interested in Sorina being safe. It is the only thing that interests me at this moment. I will speak with the interim attorney general and my colleagues at the special sections, I may speak in the country as well so that such gestures should not repeat,” she explained.
Birchall said it would be “natural” for the girl to stay in Romania until the legality of the adoption procedure was cleared.
Check performed at Craiova Prosecutor’s Office
Romania’s General Prosecutor Bogdan Licu ordered a check at the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal, as a result of the images with a strong emotional impact broadcast on Friday, in which a prosecutor seems to force Sorina, the 8-year old girl from Baia de Arama, while she was taken from the house of the foster carer who took care of her over the past seven years, in order to be adopted by a Romanian family from the USA.
According to the local press, the labour agreement of the foster carer had been terminated, thus, the authorities considered that the girl lives illegally at her residence.
In the pictures recorded by the woman’s husband, the 8-year-old appears while crying and struggling to remain with her foster carer, whom she calls “mother”. “Mom, I don’t want to leave, don’t let them take me”, Sorina was desperately crying in the video recordings broadcast on Friday, while she was resisting against being taken from the house in which she grew up. The recordings show that amid the vehement opposition of the girl against being taken from home, Prosecutor Maria Piturca from the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal forces her and drags her forcedly to the car in which her adoptive family was waiting for her.
Representatives of the Mehedinti Social Care and Child Protection General Directorate (DGASPC) mentioned in a press release that they haven’t been informed regarding the operation to take over the minor, which took place on Friday, at the family in Baia de Arama, nor have their presence been requested by any representative of the institution carrying out this operation.
On the other hand, Police representatives informed that the number of policemen who participated in the adoption mission of the 8-year-old girl in Baia de Arama was established after a previous analysis, which also considered the risks to public order that may arise due to a strong emotional impact.
According to the quoted source, the Mehedinti County Police Inspectorate (IPJ) policemen were delegated by the prosecutor on the case to execute a search warrant in a case of deprivation of liberty, issued by the Craiova Court of Appeals.
“On June 21, 2019, the General Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice ordered a check to be carried out at the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal, on the circumstances and the manner by which the prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal has exercised the supervision of the criminal investigation in the publicized case, including regarding the coordination of the home search carried out on June 21, 2019”, stated the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice on Friday evening.
According to the quoted source, the check will be carried out by prosecutors of the Guidance and Verification Department.
On the other hand, the VeDemJust magistrates’ association claims that the foster carer refused twice to adopt the child and made her believe that her adoptive parents want to harm her.
“After the foster carer was asked twice if she wants to adopt the child and she refused, the adoption was decided in favor of a Romanian family established in the USA”, according to VeDemJust.
Besides, “the ANPDC (the National Authority for the Protection of the Children’s Rights and Adoption) representatives came for several times to the foster carer to ask her to amicably hand the child over. She refused categorically, treating the authorities with contempt and making the child believe that her organs will be taken by the adopters”.
“There is a final court’s decision that established that the foster carer must comply with the adoption decision. It is regrettable that the press presented the case without having an opinion from the public institution of ANPDC or the FONDC organization, which have closely supervised this case”, the magistrates’ association also claims.
Prosecutor: The family no longer had the capacity of a foster carer
On Friday, a prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal ordered a check at the house of the foster carer who opposed allowing the little girl to go to the two spouses who adopted her.
“She is an eight-year-old little girl who was given to her adoptive parents, therefore they were the girl’s parents, according to the Craiova Court of Appeal. Investigations are being made in a case on the docket of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal, related to the offense of illegally depriving a person of liberty, since the lady who was taking care of the girl no longer was her foster carer, so she was having the girl without having any capacity and illegally. That’s why this search was performed. The girl was taken and handed over to the parents. She was examined by the physicians of the Craiova Forensic Department. The parents are Romanian, and they are established in the USA. There’s a decision of the Craiova Court of Appeal from 2019, by which the adoption of this girl is accepted in favor of the spouses”, stated the General Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal, Tena Tulitu, for Mediafax.
Foster carer’s accusations* Close persons to the new family say that the girl is fine
The husband of the foster carer who grew Sorina, Vasile Saramat, stated for Antena 3 that he and his wife wanted to adopt the little girl, but in 2017 the case manager made his wife sign a written request according to which she was refusing the adoption, threatening her that if she doesn’t sign it, her labour agreement will be terminated.
“We wanted to adopt this child, but we were misled by this case manager. He made my wife sign that she agrees with them and they threatened her. This happened in 2017. We wanted to adopt two girls from the maternal center. We managed to adopt one of them, but for the second one we were told we don’t meet the requirements. We were told we don’t have the required salary income. They said we must wait”, he claimed.
Vasile Saramat made serious accusations against the Drobeta Turnu Severin Social Care and Child Protection General Directorate.
“There’s a mafia clique at the Drobeta Turnu Severin Child Protection Directorate. They were accomplices with this family from the USA. From the first moments when they came to our house, they took us out to speak with the family”, he said.
“Every month, we paid RON 100 to the case manager in charge with our district. We submitted a complaint to DIICOT one year ago. In case we didn’t pay, the child was taken from us”, the man said, without presenting any evidence in this regard.
He said that the complaint was submitted after the adoption proceedings in the girl’s case were started.
The man who grew Sorina until she turned 9 said he never made the little girl believe that the family that will adopt her would hurt her.
“I never told the girl that the family that will adopt her would hurt her. The girl was informed since an early age that we are not her parents. We informed her that a Romanian family established in the USA is going to come and take her. But the girl said she doesn’t want to. This girl is not compatible with this family. All the bodies, starting with the Child Protection, the case manager, the case inspector, the head of the adoption department, plotted with this family, they terrorized us”, the man said.
“My wife was told to come with the girl to Drobeta Turnu Severin, to perform all the medical examinations and they asked for the girl to be clinically healthy. Could this family take her if the girl was ill?”, Saramat asked.
He claimed that the adoptive parents of the girl, the Sacarin family, intervened directly to Bucharest, to the head of the National Authority for Child Protection, Gabriela Coman, “to get a clinically health child”.
Vasile Saramat described the experience his family had to face on Friday morning, when the masked men entered the house by force, while they were sleeping.
“These men simply entered by force, they jumped over the fence, they tried to break the gates. All of us were sleeping, both of the girls were in bed, sleeping. They entered like the criminals, as if we were the biggest drug dealers”, Saramat stated.
Mehedinti Court: The foster carer submitted the adoption request regarding the minor Lucan Sorina within the legal term
On February 18, 2019, the Mehedinti Court decided that “intervener Saramat Mariana submitted the adoption request related to the minor Lucan Sorina” within the legal term and rejected the international adoption request submitted by the spouses Ramona and Gabriel Sacarin. But the latter appealed the decision and on April 23, 2019, the Craiova Court of Appeal decided they are right and changed the challenged decision, approving the adoption.
Judicial Inspection, notified about the prosecutor who participated in taking the child from the foster carer
Judicial Inspection was notified as a result of the decision of the President of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) Lia Savonea related to Prosecutor Maria Piturca from the Prosecutor’s Office attached to Craiova Court of Appeal, who participated in taking the girl from Baia de Arama who was adopted by a Romanian family from the USA and picked up on Friday by a brutal manner, by the authorities. The husband of the foster carer who grew Sorina, the eight-year old little girl, made serious accusations against the case manager. He claimed that the latter forced his wife to sign the refusal of the adoption. In the context of the international adoption procedure, the foster carer made an intervention request and the Mehedinti Court admitted that the woman wanted to adopt the girl within the legal term, but the Craiova Court of Appeal said that the adoptive family is right. On Friday evening, images with the girl smiling along with her adoptive mother were broadcast, and close persons to the family stated that the girl has already got accustomed.
– CSM’s announcement regarding the notification of the Judicial Inspection
“Given the issues raised by the media, related to the conduct of a prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Craiova Court of Appeal, who forced a minor when performing a search during the day of June 21, 2019, the President of the Superior Council of Magistracy, Judge Lia Savonea, decided to notify the Judicial Inspection in order to check the circumstances and the manner by which the prosecutor has exercised the supervision of the criminal investigation in this case and coordinated the home search”, CSM announced on Saturday.
The President of the Superior Council of Magistracy requests that all the checks provided by the law must be quickly carried out, in order to clarify as soon as possible all the factual and legal circumstances related to this case.
Images with Sorina along with her adoptive family
PS News presented on Saturday several photos showing Sorina with her adoptive mother, brother and grandmother and quotes close persons to the family according to which, after entering the custody of the family that adopted her, Sorina ate and then she unpacked her luggage and the gifts she received.
PM Dancila : Manner in which the girl was treated is unspeakable
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said that the manner in which the little girl from Baia de Arama was treated is “unspeakable”, adding that the authorities should set an example for such things not to happen again.
“For me, what happens with the girl from Mehedinti is very important. Beyond the way it was done, [beyond] the institutions, the fact that, I said and repeat it, it’s unspeakable how the girl was treated, we have to see what we can do for the child. And we should judge this thing not only from the Executive’s view, not only from the point of view of the offices we hold, I believe that we should judge this thing with our soul and give an example, so that such things do not happen anymore. No one, no matter what the office, doesn’t have the right to have such a behavior with a child,” Viorica Dancila stated in Neptun seaside resort.
The PM mentioned that she discussed with all the factors involved.
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila approved for a message to be sent to the US Embassy, in view of having a “tight collaboration” regarding the case of the girl from Baia de Arama, who was adopted by a family in the US.
“Today, I approved for a message to be sent to the US Embassy with the wish of having a tight collaboration in respect to the situation of Sorina. Together with Labour Minister Marius Budai, we are watching how the girl accommodates to the new environment and we want to make sure that she is safe and gets a good care,” the PM wrote on Saturday on her Facebook page.
Viorica Dancila also announced that “she requested for the control bodies of the National Child Protection and Adoption Authority (ANPDCA) and the National Social Payments and Inspection Agency (ANPIS) to be on Monday morning, at first light, in Dolj and Mehedinti, in order to draw up a thorough report of the situation.”
PM Viorica Dancila also requested Saturday an investigation related to the case of the girl picked up from home, in order to be adopted by a family in the US, underscoring that the persons who will be found guilty will be sanctioned.