[Masthead] Fair ~ 54°F  
High: 81°F ~ Low: 63°F
Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Trial date of Jan. 3 set for Hansen case

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A trial date has been set over a lawsuit against the family that sent an adopted Russian boy back to Moscow last year, sparking an international incident.

However, motions will be heard later this month that could possibly bring an end to the litigation.

January 3, 2012 is the day when attorneys representing Torry and Nancy Hansen and a Washington state adoption agency will appear in Bedford County Circuit Court for trial.

But a hearing has been set for Oct. 27, when Judge Lee Russell will consider two motions -- a Rule 12 motion to dismiss the case, as well as a motion to amend the petition.

Sent back

In April 2010, Nancy Hansen placed Artyom Savelyev on a flight to Moscow with a note from her daughter Torry, his adoptive mother, saying she no longer wanted to keep him because he was violent and had severe "psychopathic" problems.

Hansen claimed that she was misled and lied to by Russian orphanage workers "regarding his mental stability and other issues."

A month later, a petition was filed by World Association for Children and Parents, the agency that placed the boy with the Hansens, asking that they be appointed as a temporary guardian for the child.

Attorneys for the agency said last year they went to court out of frustration that no one was investigating claims that the Hansens abandoned and endangered the boy.

Under seal

Documents filed in January related to the case indicated that a Russian court was demanding $2,500 a month in child support from the Hansens. A Russian official claimed at the time that Torry was refusing to give up her parental rights.

The case was transferred to Bedford County Juvenile Court last August, and the Hansens' new attorney, Sandra Smith of Murfreesboro, filed a motion two months ago to gain access to the sealed documents in the case. Both sides had said it would be unreasonable to hold the proceedings so close to the original trial date of Sept. 15.

Attempts to reach attorneys on both sides of the case by the T-G have been unsuccessful. Many, if not all of the documents in the case are currently under seal.

No charges

When the case brought worldwide attention to Shelbyville last year, local authorities were unable to file any charges against the Hansens because there was no evidence that any crime had been committed in Bedford County.

Sheriff Randall Boyce said at the time said that if Nancy Hansen abandoned the child, it didn't occur in the county, and therefore, he could not press charges.

The incident sparked worldwide outrage and brought international attention to Shelbyville and the plight of Russian adoptees, also causing a rift in diplomatic relations. Russia temporarily suspended adoptions by American families, finally lifting the ban in June of this year.

The Hansens had previously been represented by Shelbyville attorney Trisha Henegar, and then later by Jennifer Thompson of Nashville.