Serbian couple reunited with children

A Serbian family that lives and works in the United States has been reunited with their children after more than eight months.

Source: B92, Tanjug

The parents, Vuk and Verica Nastić, were separated from their 5 and 8 year-old children after allegations of sexual abuse.

The case was unfolding in Stockton, California, where the Child Protective Services said at the main hearing this week they decided to drop the case against the parents, while the court at the same time ordered the young children to be reunited with their parents.

The boy and the girl were separated from each other and their parents since June 2010.

The Serbian couple have been accused of sexually abusing and neglecting their children. Last July, an office technician found digital photographs of their naked children in the computer that Vuk Nastić gave him.

Nastić stated that the photographs were not of a sexual nature, and that some were taken by the boy. Although U.S. federal law enforcement agencies found no basis forcriminal charges, California's child protection system with the consent of a judge, deemed that the children remain at risk and has kept them from their parents, said previous reports.

Vuk Nastić told B92 on Monday that the family needed some time to "collect their thoughts" after being taken by surprise by the good news.

"Obviously the agency (the Child Protective Services) has been under great pressure to admit they made a mistake, from our lawyers and the Serbian diplomacy headed by Consul Nikitović and others. I understood that (Interior Minister) Ivica Dačić was here and that he was promised things would be sorted out in the foreseeable future," said Nastić.

He also stated that he and his wife received an apology from a lawyer acting on behalf of the services, who said they "only a few days ago had a chance to review all 7,000 photos found on the laptop and other memory devices".

The photos, Vuk Nastić said, showed that only 20 were contentious as potentially sexually "indecent", but that others showed the children knew how to use the camera themselves.

Nastić described the apology as "incredibly cynical".

He also said the children were "very happy, at the same time a little confused, and a little traumatized by all that mistreatment". Nastić commended the foster family for taking good care of them, however, adding that "any psychological changes in them are hardly noticeable".

Serbia's Chicago-based Consul Desko Nikitović says the outcome is a victory for justice and "a great success of the Serbian authorities who supported the parents in their just demands".

Nikitović also said that an investigation has now been requested from U.S. authorities, claiming that officials abused their position and powers to unjustifiably strip the parents of their custody rights.


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