SPECIAL REPORT-Girl harbored dark secret, fearing she'd be sent away
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By Megan Twohey
MARYSVILLE, Ohio, March 21 (Reuters) - On an Internet forum where parents sought takers for adopted children they no longer wanted, a teenager from Haiti was offered more frequently than any other girl.
Starting at age 14, Nita Dittenber was passed among four families over two years through a practice called "private re-homing."
In September, Reuters exposed an underground market in which desperate parents use online bulletin boards to offer adoptees to strangers, often illegally and with no government oversight. [reut.rs/1erHH03] The Internet forums, including the Yahoo group where Nita was advertised, can enable abusers to acquire children easily; in one case, a pedophile in Illinois took home a 10-year-old boy hours after an ad for the child was posted online.
In the last home where Nita was sent, re-homing served a different purpose, Ohio prosecutors contend. They say it was used to silence Nita and another girl in an effort to conceal the repeated sexual abuse of children.
For 17 months - from early 2011 until July 2012 - Nita lived in the Ohio city of Marysville with Jean Paul and Emily Kruse. Jean Paul was an information-technology specialist with the Ohio National Guard. Emily was a stay-at-home mother. The Kruses were the fourth family to take custody of her in America.
Not long after she was sent there, Nita says, the younger Kruse children told her they were being molested by Jean Paul. Nita says she struggled for months over whether to speak up about the allegations, fearing she'd be thrown out of the house and sent to yet another set of strangers if she did.
"I didn't want to get passed around anymore," Nita, now 18, says in an interview. Continuación...