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Adam Croote: Missing-children poster child is sentenced for rape

April 28, 2012|By Dalina Castellanos
  • President Clinton signs a proclamation on Jan. 19, 1996, to set aside space in every federal building for posting pictures of missing children. Among those watching is Adam Croote, third from right, who was sentenced on April 27 to at least 25 years in prison for raping and choking a 10-year-old girl.
President Clinton signs a proclamation on Jan. 19, 1996, to set aside space… (White House )

A man who was once a poster child for missing children has been sentenced to 25 years to life prison for raping a 10-year-old girl he was baby-sitting in upstate New York.

Adam Croote, 23, was sentenced Friday in Albany, N.Y., after pleading guilty in March to a felony charge of predatory sexual assault against a child.

Authorities said Croote raped the girl in June 2011, then -- when she screamed -- tried to strangle her to make her quiet. He then fled. Croote later surrendered to police, telling them: "I think a hurt a little girl," according to an account in the Times Union.

The girl's parents had apparently let Croote watch their daughter after he reconnected with the family via Facebook. He was already a registered sex offender at the time.

Croote's life has been a troubled one, according to an earlier reconstruction in the Times Union.

When Croote was 2, his father fatally shot his pregnant mother and left the boy alone with her body for several hours. The family was living in Hinesville, Ga., at the time. Croote's father is serving a life sentence for that crime.

Almost two years later, his maternal grandparents abducted Croote after a bitter custody battle with his paternal grandmother. Croote's babyish face was on missing-child fliers for three years until his grandparents were captured and custody was granted to his paternal grandmother, Linda Koerner.

When he was 7, he and Koerner were invited to the White House for  President Clinton's signing of an order requiring that missing-children posters be hung in all federal buildings. A photo was taken with the boy and his grandmother at Clinton’s side.

Years later Croote was sent to live in various group homes for troubled teens. At age 17, he sexually assaulted an instructor at one facility, and was convicted of forcible sexual contact.

Afterward, Croote was forced to register as a Level 2 sex offender, which the state of New York assigns to people considered at moderate risk of reoffending.

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dalina.castellanos@latimes.com

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