Former missing-child poster boy sentenced for rape charge

Adam Croote pleaded guilty to raping and choking a 10-year-old girl, will spend 25 years to life in prison

Adam Croote sits in court as he faces sentencing for rape and attempted murder. Screen grab via WRGB-TV video.

As a poster boy for missing kids everywhere, Adam Croote’s story was the textbook case for why public resources should be used to help more victimized children. Croote, a former abducted child himself, stood next to Bill Clinton in 1996 as the president signed an order requiring missing children posters to be hung in federal buildings.

But Croote’s troubled childhood seemed to haunt him throughout his life, culminating in an arrest last June for raping and choking a 10-year-old girl.

The Albany Times Union reported that Croote, 23, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for predatory sexual assault against a child, a charged he pleaded guilty to last month.

Police said Croote was babysitting the little girl in upstate New York when he assaulted her. According to a statement he made to police, the girl screamed when he attacked her and he strangled her to keep her quiet. After she escaped alive, Croote fled the home only to later surrender to police, telling authorities “I think I hurt a little girl.”

Croote had become friends of the girl’s family, who wanted to help him get back on his feet after a series of bad breaks in life. The girl’s father allowed Croote to babysit for the family even though he knew the young man was a registered sex offender.

When Croote was 2, his father murdered his pregnant mother and left him alone with the corpse.

In the ensuing custody battle, Croote was abducted from his father’s parents, who were granted guardianship, by his maternal grandparents. For three years he was declared missing after moving away with his mother’s parents, who had changed their name. After FBI involvement, he was returned to his paternal grandparents.

As a teenager, Croote lived a troubled life in various group homes on the East Coast. At age 17 he was charged with sexually assaulting an instructor.