Russian Spy Ring: What Will Happen to the Kids?

Parents get to decide who cares for their children.

July 2, 2010 — -- No matter what happens to the couples who were charged with being secret Russian spies living a cloak and dagger existence under assumed names in the U.S., their children's lives will be forever changed, a man whose father passed U.S. secrets to Russia told "Good Morning America."

"I'm not sure whether it's possible for them to have normal lives after this," Boria Sax said.

He speaks from experience. His father, Saville Sax, passed U.S. atomic secrets to Russians during the cold war.

His son spent 10 years trying to come to terms with his father's actions.

"It takes a great deal of time to find the human being in your mother or your father who is a spy. You, in effect, like everybody else, have to break through their cover," Sax said.

Six of the eight American children born to the members of an alleged Russian spy ring busted earlier this week are underage, and with both parents under arrest, it's unclear what will happen to the children.

'Fake' Names, Actual Children

Their parents may have had fake names, fake passports and fake marriages, but the children are real American citizens, and their fate is still uncertain.

Two of those children, 16-year-old Timothy Foley and 20-year-old Alex Foley, went to court Thursday to support their parents, Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley of Boston. The Foley sons waved to their parents as they were brought into the courtroom in shackles.

Their parents were among 11 people arrested earlier this week following a multi-year investigation. The suspects are accused of having lived in the U.S. under assumed false identities while secretly working as covert Russian spies on long-term, "deep-cover" assignments to obtain information on nuclear weapons.

The ring was charged with using classic cold war tactics -- including invisible writing and Morse code messaging -- to send intelligence to the Russian government, the FBI said.

In addition to Heathfield and Foley, Richard and Cynthia Murphy of New Jersey, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills of Arlington, Virginia, Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez of New York -- all couples with children -- were arrested.

Also arrested were Anna Chapman of New York, Mikhail Semenko of Virginia and Christopher Metsos, a Canadian citizen.

Son on Investigators: 'They Knew Everything'

Metsos reportedly skipped bail in Cypress, while Pelaez made bond and is under house arrest. Lazaro, her husband, confessed to authorities that he had been working for Russian intelligence, saying that he would not violate his loyalty to "the Service" even for his son, officials said Thursday.

Lazaro was arrested as he, his wife and his 17-year-old son were driving home. The teen says he was questioned by investigators.

"They knew absolutely everything," their son, Juan Jose Lazaro, told the Spanish-language newspaper "El Diario." "They knew I'm a pianist. They asked me if I spoke either Russian or German."

Investigators say the children were an integral part of the long-term spying operation, helping the supposed spies to build a picture of the perfect suburban life.

In New Jersey, the Murrays allegedly spied for Russian while they raised daughters Katie, 11, and Lisa, 7. Friends say the Murrays were arrested as Katie was returning home from a pool party.

Even though they are behind bars, the parents will retain full custodial rights to their children, and will therefore be able to made decisions about their care, said Jane Spinak, a professor of law at Columbia University School of Law in New York.

The two girls are with child protective services while authorities reportedly vet the guardians their parents have designated for them.

Those children will undoubtedly have a hard time handling this trauma.

"Even if the child ultimately ends up being able to go home to the parent or relative of close friend, it's still traumatic to see this happen to the parents," Spinak told "Good Morning America."

ABC New's Jason Ryan, Megan Chuchmach, Richard Esposito and Matthew Mosk contributed to this report.

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