Heroic Young Girl Tells of Her Child Porn Ordeal

Earlier this year, Toronto police took an extraordinary step in their search for a little girl who was being subjected to the worst kind of abuse imaginable.

She was the subject of pictures that had been showing up in the hands of pedophiles. They showed her tied up and raped repeatedly, and police could see her growing older in the photos. They feared the abuse was still going on.

So they digitally removed her from the photos -- only showing her surroundings -- and asked the public for help.

Months later, Toronto police learned that her abuser had already been jailed, and that she had been placed with a foster family.

She told her story for the first time to ABC News. She was interviewed in the presence of her new adoptive mother, her therapist and adviser -- all of whom hope that airing her story might help her heal.

"It's like he stole my childhood," the young girl, Masha, said. "He took away five years of my life that I could never get back."

From Nightmare to Nightmare

Masha was born in a small, industrial city in southern Russia. She doesn't remember her father, and says her mother was an alcoholic. When she was 4, Masha says, her mother stabbed her in the back of her neck during a drinking binge. When authorities responded, they took Masha away to live in an orphanage.

It was a sad and desperate existence, but because adoption is rare in Russia, Masha expected to live there until she turned 18. Then one day, a divorced 41-year-old American showed up saying he wanted to adopt her.

Matthew Mancuso had found Masha through an adoption agency in Cherry Hill, N.J. He said he wanted to adopt a 5- or 6-year-old Caucasian girl, and Mancuso picked Masha out from a videotape sent to him by the adoption agency.

Masha said Mancuso was friendly and brought her gifts. But there was also something strange about him. "I remember asking him if I was gonna get a mother, and he'd say that he wasn't married, and that he didn't think I would," she said.

The nightmare began when Masha flew home with Mancuso to his modest, middle-class house on the outskirts of Pittsburgh. When it was time for bed that first night, he didn't send her to her room -- he told her to get in bed with him.

He wasn't wearing any clothes, she said. The first couple of nights, he touched her leg or chest. Then he started touching her private parts. And then, a few days later, he started raping her repeatedly -- and taking sexually explicit photographs.

"I'd make myself think of other things when it was happening," she said. "But it always came back to me -- couldn't stop it."

To keep her silent he used rewards -- as well as threats. "He'd tell me not to tell anyone, or else something bad would happen," Masha said. "He wouldn't tell me what it would be, but he'd just say something bad would happen. So I just didn't tell anybody, 'cause I was afraid."

A Desperate Search by Police

The road to Masha's rescue began hundreds of miles away in the Chicago suburb of Palos Heights. Police Sgt. Mike Zaglifa had been posing as a pedophile on the Internet, where obscene pictures of children are often traded like baseball cards.

There is a limited supply of child porn, and so pedophiles are always looking for arousing new images -- so when Masha's fresh pictures appeared, this caused a feeding frenzy.

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