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WOMAN ADMITS HITTING ADOPTEE ON JET

A Phoenix woman testified Wednesday that on a 12-hour flight from Moscow she may have slapped one of the two Russian girls she and her husband adopted.

In response to a defense lawyer's question about whether she had slapped her newly adopted daughter, Karen Thorne said: "It's possible. There was some minor force in my effort to get her to sit."

Mrs. Thorne said she was "very frustrated" in her attempts to calm the young girl on the crowded jet. "I was upset by it. I was embarrassed by it. I was that mother I always felt sorry for."

Her testimony came after Family Court Judge Joseph Lauria ruled that the city had presented enough evidence to proceed with six allegations that the Thornes slapped the girls around on the flight home from Moscow.

A seventh allegation -- that the girls were struck with metal eating utensils -- was not backed up, the judge said.

Mrs. Thorne said difficulties began when she and her husband, Richard, met the 4-year-olds on May 19 at an orphanage in Voronezh, north of Moscow.

She said one child cried; the other became aggressive and hard to manage. The court has barred disclosing the names of the children, who were not related.

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