Jessica Beagley got in a lot of trouble with the government of her home city, Anchorage, Alaska, after she appeared on the "Dr. Phil" television show last month, charged with child abuse after she was seen forcing her adopted Russian son to drink hot sauce and take cold showers.
Now she is in more trouble – this time with the government of Russia.
"This is the not the first case of the cruel attitude of adoptive American parents towards Russian kids," Yevgeniy Khorishko, the Russian Embassy's press officer, said. "We are in contact with the U.S. officials regarding this case."
Beagley, a 36-year-old mother of six, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse in an Anchorage courtroom last week. She was not present at the arraignment. Her attorneys entered a plea of not guilty.
A police investigation began after Beagley appeared with Dr. Phil McGraw in November of last year, according to court documents. The segment of the show was called "Mommy Confessions."
Beagley told Dr. Phil about her difficulty disciplining her seven-year-old adopted son.
"We've tried a lot of different things to punish the kids," she said on the show.
Video shot by her daughter shows Beagley at home in Alaska with the boy. As a punishment for lying, she pours hot sauce down the boy's throat. He can be heard crying when she forces him to take a cold shower.
Beagley and her police officer husband adopted the boy and his twin brother when they were five. They went through a group called the Alaska International Adoption Agency in June 2008.
Officials from the Russian Consulate in Seattle visited the home in late January. For now, the adopted boys are still at the home pending the outcome of the case, Khorishko said.
Relations have been tense between Russia and the United States regarding adoption after several high-profile cases of the mistreatment of children adopted from Russia.
Pavel Astakhov, the Russian ombudsman for children's rights, estimated that 17 adopted Russian children have died in instances of domestic violence in American families since 1992.
Last year, a Tennessee woman put the son she'd adopted from Russia on a plane back to his native country, claiming he was so badly behaved she couldn't raise him.
"There were several cases when a child was sent back to Russia without accompaniment, kids beaten to death, when a parent left a nine-month-old child in a car that was not air conditioned near Washington D.C. and the kid died in the car. There are plenty of such cases, unfortunately," Russian Press Officer Khorishko said.
Currently, the United States and Russia are engaged in negotiations on a bilateral agreement on adoption, Khorishko said.
"We need to sign such an agreement as soon as possible in order to avoid future such cases," Khorishko said.
Viewers flooded the Anchorage Police Department with calls after the show aired, police said. The Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor said in court documents that the behavior in the video violates the municipal code protecting against child abuse.
Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin said that the discipline of the boy was "not reasonable," according to court records.