Two gay fathers whose son was taken from them earlier this month have been arrested in Los Angeles on child sexual exploitation charges, the Australian Daily Telegraph reports.
The men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were arrested during an early morning raid in Lakewood, California last Thursday, after an FBI and Queensland Police investigation into allegations the couple sexually exploited their six-year-old child.
A third man, a lawyer from Florida, was also arrested and named as the lead defendant. All men are charged with conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and the sexual exploitation of a child.
The mother of one of the men, who is an Australian citizen, told Brisbane Times she was left 'shocked and devastated' by her son's arrest and that she was convinced that her son is innocent and a good parent to her grandchild.
‘If [my son and his partner] were guilty I would never support them…’ the defendant’s mother said. ‘But they have never done anything to harm their son. If you see an abused child, you can tell. But [my grandson] had a kind, good manner … he was always talking and telling stories.’
Earlier this month Gay Star News reported that the child, who was born through a Russian surrogate mother in 2005, was taken away from the couple in October last year.
The family were living in Cairns, Australia and were visiting relatives in the US last October when Queensland Police raided their home and removed computers. The following day the US authorities took the boy from his parents. He is now living with his American father's cousins in Los Angeles.
Suspicions arose after the fathers visited three men in the US, New Zealand and Germany who were arrested on similar charges last year.