Man who planned to sexually abuse baby expected via surrogate pleads ‘not guilty’

Update 4/9/2024: The Chicago veterinarian and dog show judge arrested on charges related to child pornography has pleaded not guilty.

Adam Stafford King and his husband were expecting a baby boy via surrogate at the time of King’s arrest and was due to be born at the end of March. In the fall, King allegedly shared his plans to abuse the baby boy with a different child pornography suspect whose Telegram account had been taken over by the FBI.

A federal judge ordered that King be detained while awaiting his trial. King’s husband, his father, and his father-in-law had agreed to stay at his house and monitor him and King also offered to turn off internet service to his home if the judge allowed him to be released. However, U.S. Northern Illinois District Court Magistrate Judge Keri L. Holleb Hotaling wrote she had “grave concerns regarding the danger he [Adam Stafford King] poses to young children, including his own infant child, if he is released.”

She wrote, “King deftly concealed his alleged illegal activities from his entire family for at least the last six months, if not much longer, and none of the proposed conditions of release would prevent this deception from continuing to occur.”

The Daily Herald also discovered that local police had previously investigated King in 2017 after Google reported supsected child pornography materials in an email account. King was interviewed by police but it was determined that the age of the victim was too unclear to determine if the material was illegal or enough to gain a search warrant for King’s devices.

The FBI began investigating King in October after arresting a different child pornography suspect in New York City who had been communicating with King through Telegram. He also allegedly admitted in those messages to sexually abusing his nephews and nieces.

3/27/2024: A Chicago veterinarian and well-known dog show judge has been arrested by federal agents on charges related to child pornography. According to court records, in addition to his admission to abusing children, the man had said he planned to sexually abuse the child he and his husband are expecting via surrogate.

Adam Stafford King, 39, an animal ophthalmologist for MedVet Chicago and a dog show judge for the American Kennel Club, was taken into custody on Friday. According to Chicago NBC 5, he is accused of distributing child pornography. The FBI discovered King through an online encrypted messaging service called Telegram through which he is alleged to have sent images and videos of child pornography to another user. In 2023 and early 2024, the FBI used an account to open communication with King, who admitted that he had previously abused his nieces and nephews. He also said he had a “large digital cache” of child porn stored on the messaging app.

King and his husband, whom he called “a non perv” in one of his messages, hired a surrogate to carry a child for them. In a message sent on November 9, 2023, he claimed the baby is due this spring and shared his plans to sexually abuse the baby once he or she was no longer a newborn. He shared an outfit that he had for the baby along with an ultrasound image.

Also in the November 9 message, King said he drugged his nieces and nephews, giving them an adult dose of Benadryl before he sexually abused them.

On March 5, the FBI entered King’s residence on a search warrant and found the newborn outfit he had shared a photo of as well as the ultrasound image. Forensics on his cellphone shows that he sent explicit messages from hotels around the country that were located close to dog shows or dog events.

The FBI first began investigating King in October after arresting a different suspect in New York City who had been communicating with King through Telegram. On September 11, 2023, King allegedly texted the other suspect that he preferred his victims to be in the “single digits.” That other suspect gave the FBI access to his Telegram account, allowing them to communicate with King, who posted under the user name @pervchidude.

King was being held without bond as of Monday and was scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday afternoon.

The case shines a light on a major issue with surrogacy and egg and sperm donation — there is no law requiring background checks for intended parents. Notorious YouTuber Shane Dawson has a history of pedophilic comments and sexualizing children, including infants; however, he was allowed to create 12 children via egg donor with his male partner Ryland Adams.

“Here’s your reminder that (unlike adoption) adults who procure children via [surrogacy] undergo no screening or background checks,” Them Before Us founder Katy Faust tweeted about Dawson and Adams, who now have twin infant sons. “Dawson shared an older clip of himself admitting that he searched for child pornography and even typed in ‘naked baby.’”

In 2013, Mark Newton and his boyfriend Peter Truong were sentenced to prison for sexually abusing a boy after they had paid a Russian woman $8,000 to be their surrogate in 2005. Police believe they wanted to have a child “for the sole purpose of exploitation.” The boy’s abuse began just days after he was born and video shows Newton abusing him less than two weeks after his birth. Over six years, the men traveled the world, selling the boy for sex with at least eight men, recording the abuse, and uploading the footage to what is known as the Boy Lovers Network.

The couple had previously been interviewed by an ABC reporter in Queensland, Australia, in 2010, complaining about the difficulties they faced to have a child. When attempting to take the baby boy from Russia to Australia, they said authorities quizzed them extensively and that it took more than two years to get a visa for the boy.

The reporter asked if the authorities likely suspected there was “something dodgy… something pedophilic going on here.”

Newton replied, “Absolutely, absolutely, I’m sure that was completely the concern.”

In 2011, after arresting three other men over the possession of child pornography, Newton and Truong were on the police’s radar. They had visited those three men with their son in the U.S., New Zealand, and Germany.

Statistically, research has shown that children are at increased risk of abuse and neglect when living in a home with an unrelated adult. One study reported, “Living in the same household with genetically unrelated adults is the single biggest risk factor for abuse, neglect and homicide of children. … [C]hildren living with an unrelated parent are between 15 and 77 times more likely to die ‘accidentally’.” A CDC study noted that children without either of their biological parents in the home were 2.7 times more likely to experience at least one adverse event, and 30 times as likely to experience four or more adverse events compared to children with both biological parents in the home.

Surrogacy has created a “Handmaid” epidemic around the world, exploiting underprivileged women and putting children in harm’s way.

Editor’s Note 4/9/2024: This article was updated with information on the lack of background check laws in the fertility industry and statistics on child abuse.

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