UPDATE: Ginger Gorman, the ABC journalist who first interviewed Mark Newton and Peter Truong back in 2010, has written an opinion piece for The Drum about how she felt when news of the men’s heinous crimes against their son broke earlier this month.
Gorman writes that she never suspected anything of the men when she met them to talk about what it was like to be a gay couple who wanted kids.
“I see your sweet, shining eyes and your cheeky smile. I can even hear your little voice, imploring me to come and see your baby chickens. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done anything to stop the heinous crimes being perpetrated against you. I would have done anything to end your misery. But I didn’t know. I had no idea. I’m so sorry,” Ginger writes.
Since the story broke, Ginger says she’s been the subject of hateful tweets and blog posts. She questions whether she should have noticed anything when the young boy was innocently running around his parent’s backyard. But in the end she concludes that she wouldn’t have done anything differently if she could go back.
“In my 10 years with the ABC this is the first time something like this has happened to me. Yes, it’s horrifying. Yes, I have been awake at night in darkness and despair thinking about the plight of Boy 1. But despite everything, I refuse to lose faith in humanity. I choose to believe that evil people are rare. Good, honest people on the other hand are not.”
You can read Ginger’s full account here.
This is what Mamamia previously reported on the subject.
WARNING: this post is extremely distressing and contains graphic information. We debated whether or not to publish because the circumstances of this case are so disturbing but ultimately we felt it raised some issues worth discussing. If you are a survivor of abuse, you may not want to read further.
The man on the left is Peter Truong.
The man on the right is his partner, Australian citizen Mark Newton.
The boy in the centre is the child the couple illegally purchased days after he was born with the sole purpose of sexually abusing him.
Last week, 42-year-old Newton was sentenced to 40 years in jail at the US District Court in Indianapolis after he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and the sexual exploitation of a minor.
That minor was their eight-year-old adopted son, who is currently in State Care in the US state of California.
Newton’s partner Peter Truong will be sentenced later this year for his crimes.
It’s alleged that in 2005, Newton and Truong paid a Russian woman $8000 for her baby. Under the condition of their agreement, the couple would get full custody of the child. Just five days after their child was born, they used falsified records that said Newton was the father to legalise an adoption.
Newton and Truong reportedly started engaging in sexual acts with the boy when he was less than two weeks old. Photos and videos of this were discovered on their encrypted hard drives.
But that was just the beginning.
Over the course of eight years, the pair repeatedly sexually abused their son, used him to create a copious amount of child pornography materials (in one month alone, 12 videos of sexual abuse were created by the couple with the child) and ‘shared’ him with other pedophiles around the world, travelling to several different countries to do so.
Last night, ABC’s 730 program aired an interview with local radio presenter Ginger Gorman. In 2010, (months before their heinous crimes were discovered) Gorman spoke to the Newton and Truong as part of a series of interviews on gender.
Gorman says that at the time, Newton and Truong gave the impression of a pair of devoted, loving same-sex parents. She looks haunted as she recalls the day of the interview.
“I felt no sense that anything was wrong. For all intents and purposes this appeared to be a loving family and a loving household. And I’ve gone over and over it in my brain and I just did not feel that anything was wrong,” she told 7:30 reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna.
But, as Meldrum-Hanna says, that was one of many lies being told by the pair. (Chilling footage and audio taken during the interview can be viewed here.)
Details of the case first came to light after New Zealand authorities found numerous examples of child pornography featuring the boy (who they refer to as Boy 1) on a computer at a property in Wellington in August 2011.
Jon Peacock was the investigator made that discovery and spoke to the ABC for 7:30’s report:
JON PEACOCK, NZ DEPARTMENT OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS: During the investigation of a Wellington man, the forensic analysis of his machine identified a series of images of Boy 1 who was shirtless. And they were quite contrived staged photos, if you like that just, as I said, didn’t sit right in terms of standard family holiday type snap shots.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Peacock sent the images to police attached to Operation Argus in Brisbane. The specialised branch responsible for investigating online child exploitation and abuse.
JON PEACOCK: That’s what sparked the investigation.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: The images were the tip of the iceberg. Police discovered chat logs between Truong, Newton and the New Zealand man, where they bragged about having sex with their son Boy one, since he was little. And had given him to several other men around the world for sex, including two men based in Indianapolis in the US who are being investigated by police.
Queensland police allegedly raided Newton and Truong’s Cairns home around that time and “seized computers, electronic equipment and documents that uncovered high-definition video and images of child exploitation” involving the pair’s adopted son and two other unknown boys.
In February 2012, Newton and Truong were arrested in California and charged with producing child pornography and extreme acts of sexual exploitation.
It’s since been reported that the men trafficked their son around the world sharing him with at least eight men in Australia, the US, Germany and France as part of a global pedophile ring. Videos of the men sexually assaulting the boy were apparently uploaded to a syndicate called the Boy Lovers Network, which has since been shut down.
More from the ABC:
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: One video showed Boy one performing sex acts on Newton, with a disturbing level of sophistication when he wasn’t even two years old. When the boy turned five, in one month alone, Newton video himself engaging in sexual activity with Boy one on more than a dozen different occasions.
STEVEN DEBROTA: One way they control and manipulated this child was to appear to the outside world as a good parent. And one of the things they did was they trained this child how to answer questions from potential investigators.
In sentencing Mark Newton last week, US judge Sarah Evans Barker said that Newton’s sentence should have been longer, but that she accepted a plea to spare jury members from having to see horrific footage of crimes.
Newton reportedly told the court that “being a father was an honor and a privilege that amounted to the best six years of my life.”
The little boy is now in State Care in California. Members of Queensland Police’s Task force Argos have vowed to not give up until they’ve tracked down every person involved in the abuse of the little boy.
Note from Mamamia Publisher, Mia Freedman: The depravity and pure evil of this story is hard to comprehend. You are probably reeling right now – just as we are. And you should be. What happened to this little boy almost defies words.
But let’s be very clear that this post is in no way reflective of the vast majority of same-sex parents who adopt children or have them via surrogates.
Mark Newton and Peter Truong illegally ‘purchased’ a child and falsified birth documents in order to adopt him and remove him from Russia. For the sole purpose of sexually abusing him from the first weeks of his life.
Tragically, there are evil people in the world who should never have access to children. Sexuality is a seperate issue. Evil people come in all shapes, sizes, sexualities and genders. There have been heterosexual couples who have been convicted of similar heinous crimes as Newton and Truong. So while as a society we must do whatever we can to protect children and this story raises some hugely distressing and disturbing questions about how such a thing could happen, we will not allow any comments on this post that imply that there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.