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The BBC's David Willis
"This is a sorry saga"
 real 56k

Chip Patterson, Sam Berardino County Sherrif Dept
"At this point we have two victims, a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old-girl"
 real 56k

Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 08:21 GMT
Net adoption: Child abuse arrest
Richard Allen, far right, and other prospective parents on the Oprah Winfrey show
The Allens and Kilshaws confronted each other on American TV
The husband of one of the couples involved in a transatlantic internet adoption row has been arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

American Richard Allen was arrested on Wednesday after two teenage girls who had worked as babysitters for the Allens alleged that he had molested them.

Social worker and baby
UK social workers took the children into care
Mr Allen and his wife Vicky have been embroiled in a battle for custody of twins who were apparently adopted twice, once by the Allens and once by a Welsh couple.

The Allens claim they adopted baby twin girls, who were then adopted again via the internet by Alan and Judith Kilshaw from Flintshire in north Wales.

Social workers in the UK took the twins into custody on 18 January. A judge has ruled that they will stay in state care while courts consider the case.

'Lewd and lascivious behaviour'

Mr Allen, 49, was arrested at his home in San Bernardino, California, for "lewd and lascivious behaviour towards two minors".

The 13-year-old girl is believed to to have contacted police with a complaint against Mr Allen on 20 February.

Twins Belinda and Kimberley
Both couples are fighting for the twins
Investigators then questioned the girl's 14-year-old sister, who had also babysat for the Allens. She also alleged abuse.

The Allens have one child.

The 13-year-old's allegations date from November of last year, when the twins were in the Allens' care.

Mr Allen faces a hearing before the San Bernadino County District Attorney's office on Friday. He is being held at a detention centre, with bail set at $100,000.

His arrest comes a week after UK police questioned Judith Kilshaw on suspicion of theft. She was released without charges.

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See also:

01 Feb 01 | Americas
TV truce for net twins couples
26 Jan 01 | Americas
US couple fight for internet twins
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