Forget about Sen. Larry Craig. In Ukraine, sex offender suspects don’t get busted.
Even when it comes to child sexual abuse.
The lawlessness of our lawmakers knows no bounds. In June, MP Viktor Lozynsky (BYuT) hunted and killed an unarmed man. He then posed before the cameras and came close to being awarded for his party called assisting in the “capture of an armed criminal.” As a sign of goodwill, Lozynsky even filed a motion that his parliamentary immunity be lifted pending investigation. But once details of the shocking murder emerged, he ran away and remains on the run.
On top of this comes the case at hand: two kids, a boy and a girl, ages 12 and 9, sexually abused for three years by a number of people whom they may or may not have identified.
Those people are:
Three BYuT MPs: Serhiy Teryokhin, Ruslan Bohdan, Viktor Ukolov;
Four Artek youth camp workers: Borys Novozhylov, Genrikh Ratt, Dmytro Lepeshev, Volodymyr Dunayev;
An Orthodox priest: Vadym Payevsky; and
The kids’ adoptive father: Dmytro Polyukhovych.
Some of the evidence presented so far appears to be incomplete or inconclusive. Claims regarding the MPs originated from the father, the prime suspect, while under arrest, as cited by the mother in the criminal charges. According to lawyer Tetyana Montyan, the kids corroborated these claims in a private conversation with her.
As of this writing, no charges have been officially made against the MPs, all of whom deny wrongdoing.
The videotaped orgies took place at two locations and may have involved other children:
- At Artek, the famous Crimean youth camp. (The victims mentioned other children, in “old-fashioned clothes,” who came to Artek from orphanages and may have been involved.)
- At a Kyiv apartment, which, upon examination, fit the victims’ description, according to earlier reports. (A more recent report, however, states that during a crime scene reconstruction on Saturday the boy neither denied nor confirmed being raped there.)
The mother, Olena Polyukhovych, in her own words, had noticed her kids’ depressed behavior sometime ago and even consulted psychologists but they, she says, weren’t able to determine the cause.
A psychologist consulted by Ukrayinska Pravda disputes this claim, arguing that the cause would have been all too apparent to a mother, let alone to a psychologist.
She filed the charges in Kyiv on April 16 but ended up sabotaged and, according to her claims, even threatened. Ukrayinska Pravda offers a copies of the medical examiner’s opinion and “no corpus delicti found” rejection letters from the police.
There's also a copy of the “seek help elsewhere” letter from the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights.
At that time, the mother was having an affair, trying to get a divorce and going through a custody battle of sorts.
According to conflicting claims, either she or her husband or her boyfriend told the kids about their adoption.
Finally, the story found its way to the public, leaked to various outlets and exploited by renegade BYuT MP Hryhoriy Omelchenko, a retired colonel, and by the Party of Regions. Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the Party of Regions, will be the main rival to PM Yulia Tymoshenko in the January 2010 presidential election.
Interestingly, MP Viktor Ukolov happens to be a Tymoshenko strategist, apparently responsible for her ubiquitous and heavily spoofed “They’re interfering. She’s working” ad campaign. Facing public scrutiny, he now has stepped down. In his latest blog on Ukrayinska Pravda, he described himself as a misled, disappointed and self-exiled friend of the stepfather, and one who wishes him justice.
Prominent Ukrainian lawyer and activist Tetyana Montyan talked to the kids and their mother. Speaking at a press conference Thursday, she said the kids have intimate knowledge of the abusers’ anatomy. And, as we all know, some of the suspects have parliamentary immunity.
Lawyer Tetyana Montyan: On July 7, this woman, having understood that, despite all this, nobody cares that her children were raped, writes petitions to the President, to the Prime Minister and to Commissioner for Human Rights Karpachova. Let me quote the reply from Karpachova’s office. The mother gets a letter from some employee Tarhulova from the secretat…secretariat of the Ombudswoman of the Verkhovna Rada (she acts as an adviser to the Ombudswoman): Tarhulova Iryna Herasymivna [family name, first name, patronymic]. “Dear Olena Valentynivna, your petition to the Commissioner for Human Rights has been reviewed. Let us inform you that your petition concerns inadequate pretrial investigation by an investigator of the investigation department of the Dniprovsk department of the Ministry of the Interior in the city of Kyiv, whereas oversight of the legality of pretrial investigations is the prerogative of prosecutorial authorities. Therefore, we’re forwarding your petition accordingly to the prosecutor of the Dniprovsk district of the city of Kyiv.” This woman Karpachova gets a petition, which you all have read online, citing all the possible facts pertaining to this case. That’s the reply of our Commissioner for Human Rights.
On Friday’s “Shuster Live,” Montyan shared her knowledge of the case, saying that the girl had confessed to being “touched” on April 16, 2009. Upon hearing this, the mother filed the charges immediately but criminal proceedings were not opened until August 14. Ukrayinska Pravda provides a copy of the criminal proceedings.
Montyan describes the mother as naïve, easily manipulated and sexually inexperienced — a perfect match for a husband-father-pedophile. He mentioned the three BYuT MPs while under arrest. The kids identified them based on photographs from the Verkhovna Rada website. In a private conversation with her, Montyan says, the kids referred to the three as “Uncle Seryozha,” “Uncle Vitya,” “Uncle Ruslan” and described their sexual behavior in detail. [diminutives for Serhiy, Viktor, Ruslan]
The kids’ identity, leaked to the public, will make their lives unbearable in Ukraine, Montyan legitimately concludes. After questioning the kids intensely, Montyan became convinced that their statements could not be the product of brainwashing.
An expert in child molestation cases, she would practically stake her professional reputation on the veracity of the kids’ claims.
Speaking with a trembling voice, Iryna Bohdan, wife of MP Ruslan Bohdan (BYuT), made a case for her husband’s innocence. She emphatically refuted the accusations, calling them “a strictly political game,” and expressed her and her husbands’ readiness to take a polygraph test.
In an interview with Ukrayinska Pravda, MP Sehiy Teryokhin went as far as to volunteer for a live broadcast polygraph test, provided so does the kids’ mother. He has also appealed to the Prosecutor General to open criminal proceedings against what he called the mother’s perjury.
How much of this accounts for a smear campaign and how much portrays a shocking case of child sexual abuse remains to be seen.
One thing is clear: The government doesn’t care.