ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Russian officials are closely watching a case involving an Anchorage mother of six who was charged with child abuse after a video that aired on "Dr. Phil" showed her punishing her adopted Russian son by squirting hot sauce into his mouth and forcing him into a cold shower.
The case has sparked a public uproar in Russia at a time that nation is nearing completion of a bilateral treaty with the U.S. on adoptions. Russia called for the agreement following the deaths of Russian children who were abused or neglected by their adoptive American parents in recent years.
Russian officials say they have not ruled out pushing for the return of the 7-year-old boy to his native country should his adoptive mother, Jessica Beagley, be found guilty.
"This video caused a huge wave of outrage in Russia," said Andrey Bondarev of the Russian Consulate in Seattle. "We're going to pay attention because this behavior is absolutely unacceptable."
Beagley's attorney, meanwhile, maintains she is a caring mother who submitted the video to the show because she genuinely wanted help.
The boy and his fraternal twin brother remain in the home with Beagley, her husband and their four biological children. Bondarev, who twice visited the family, said he saw no reason to have the boys removed at this point, and neither did authorities. He said Beagley vowed to never exert that kind of discipline again.
Authorities began investigating Beagley, 36, after the video aired in November in a segment on the CBS show called "Mommy Confessions." The city charged Beagley with one misdemeanor count of child abuse last month.
She has pleaded not guilty.
The video, shot by Beagley's 10-year-old daughter, included sounds of the boy screaming behind the shower curtain and Beagley yelling about the consequences of misbehavior. It brought many in the show's audience to tears.