I wrote about a case a few years ago involving a gay couple who groomed their son for sexual abuse. Peter Truong and Mark Newton bought their son “Adam” for $8,000 from a Russian woman. When Adam was almost 2-years-old, they began sexually abusing him. They continued this for years, grooming him for sex with other men. They eventually allowed other men from their “boylover” network to have sex with their son. They would travel the world to meet these men, “sharing” Adam with them, sometimes in exchange for sex with boys in those men’s care, but often simply to allow the men the chance to have sex with Adam.
The pair recorded Adam constantly. Most of their family videos were of everyday activities. However, they also recorded their sexual abuse of their son, along with the other men’s abuse of the boy. They shared these videos and pictures among their network of pedophiles, and became rather popular.
How authorities caught them is rather elaborate. Police in two different countries stumbled onto pictures of Adam, and later an extensive pedophile network. The case hinged on identifying the boy in the pictures. The only thing the police had to work with was a mole on the boy’s stomach and a henna tattoo. These two pieces of evidence helped bring down one of the largest pedophile networks authorities have seen.
The Australian show Four Corners covered the story shortly after Truong was sentenced to 30 years in prison:
The piece is graphic and detailed, yet I am glad that they chose to reveal that information because people do not realize what child abuse victims really go through. It is difficult to listen to and watch, and I can understand why some would want to avoid it. Yet avoiding it is partly what allows this type of abuse to go unnoticed.
That said, this particular group went well out of its way to hide itself. The authorities could not crack the encryption on Truong’s hard drives. They were only able to track down the group known as Tales (Tails?) of the Dragon because some of the members were sloppy. These people would otherwise have gone unnoticed as they traveled from country to country “sharing” boys.
In one of my posts about this case, I noted that Truong claimed he was a victim of abuse. The reports at the time were general, and I gave him no quarter. I do not think past abuse is an excuse or reason for abusing someone else.
The Four Corners piece provides more information, and as a result I must revise my position. According to the expert who treated Truong, a family friend or relative targeted Truong when he was 9-years-old and apparently continued the sexual abuse until Truong moved to the United States at 18. As a child, Truong realized that he was gay and began searching the internet for a place to fit in. He ended up on a boylove where the men groomed him into thinking sex with adults was normal. It was one of these men that Truong lived with when he came to the States. This man later told Truong to start a relationship with Mark Newton. He also later suggested that Truong should have a child, which the rest of the network agreed with.
According to the expert, Truong’s sexual interest is in older adult men. This seems accurate based on the information presented in the piece. As such, I must adjust my view of Truong by saying that he may not be a pedophile, and it may not be inherent in his nature to prey on children. It does appear that this boylove group groomed him to do the things he did.
That does not absolve him of any responsibility. There is no way one cannot know that a toddler is not sexual being. There is no way he could not know that his son did not want to engage in those acts. At one point in the piece, one of the investigators recounted an instance from a video where Truong told Adam that the boy was being disrespectful because Adam wanted to play rather than engage in the sex act.
Again, there is no way not to know there is something wrong with this. I say this as someone who was raised in a similar manner. I was told similar things. Yet even then, even growing up with this being my norm, I knew there was something off about those kinds of comments. I cannot imagine that an adult who loves his son, which appears undeniable in this case, would not catch that the boy did not want to do it.
I still consider Truong is a bad person, but at least I have a better insight into how he got to this point.
As for Newton, the piece has very little about him. He received a 40-year prison sentence. It does not appear he has had contact with Truong since then. I am not sure about his situation or why he decided to abuse this boy. My suspicion, based on the video, is that he was the network’s method of controlling Truong, a way of continuing to manipulate him for the network’s needs.
In that sense, I do feel sorry for Truong because he seems like someone who wanted attention, was preyed on and confused by those who abused him, and later engaged in the very activity himself.