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Monday, October 19, 2009

3 MPs in Controversial Child Molestation Case

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.)
With 98% probability, polygraph tests confirm the kids’ abuse claims, as do child psychologists and medical examiners. Ukrayinska Pravda offers a transcript of the polygraph tests.

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.



elmer said...

There are a few other things that are also crystal clear, Taras.

1) Parliamentary immunity has GOT TO GO! It has to be eliminated. 18 years of a criminal free-for-all on the part of people in the so-called "political elite" of Ukraine is enough.

2) The legal system, prosecutorial and judicial branches in Ukraine, has got to be cleaned up. Bribery of judges, the political machinations of prosecutors - that has got to go.

3) You are right - whether this is a so-called "political provocation" (translating from the well-known Ukrainian term) remains to be seen. Political provocations are well-known in Ukraine. It is a sick system.

4) The investigation of child abuse cases is indeed a very delicate matter, to say the least. The totally incompetent response of the Ukrainian government leaves any observer with a sense of outrage.

The fact that this is being plastered all over the newspapers, Internet and TV shows in Ukraine is further evidence of the absolutely hideous state of the Ukrainian government.

These are very highly delicate and sensitive matters, whether the allegations are true or false.

In other countries, there are both criminal and civil avenues for seeking justice. There are safeguards for the children involved.

In Ukraine - the only avenue appears to be a lawyer appearing on TV on the Savik Shuster show, talking about what the kids told her.

And a wife with a tremulous voice, outraged at allegations against her husband.


And this is but one example of it.

It is a hideous spectacle, hideous evidence of what happens when the "political elite" are allowed to run roughshod over an entire country.

Unknown said...

In Hungary priests are usually accused of molestation. It is a kind of trend or I don't know. I can't really remember any other cases except one when police officers raped a woman but it has not been proven yet.

Pawlina said...

Obviously it's up to the media, including "citizen journalists" to put an end not only to the molestation (a much too mild word, btw) but also of the cover-ups.

A while back I spoke with a local (BC, Canada) anti-pedophilia activist who said that the reason so few pedophiles are brought to justice is that many of them hold positions of authority and are "pillars of society" ... police officers, lawyers, doctors, judges, clergy, teachers, etc.

It was a shock to me to learn that. But it kind of makes sense. Why else is justice so slow to come to the perpetrators of these heinous acts?

It would seem that there is more "transparency" in emergency demcracies because they haven't had as much time in to create effective subterfuges, and also beause they're modelling their political and economic systems on the (very imperfect) ones in the so-called established democracies.

The big question being, of course, democracy for whom? Certainly not for the poor kids who end up victims of the soulless and conscienceless pedophiles in our midst.

Good for you, Taras, for this post, and good for the lawyer and the mother for their courage. Very doubtful they've launched a malicious smear campaign. What a ludicrous notion. Why would anyone open such an ugly can of worms just to make trouble for someone else? Makes no sense at all.

Michelle said...

This situation shows that wherever the truth lies....there needs to be a competent social system and laws in place to protect children's rights in Ukraine.

Taras said...


Corruption is killing the country and President Yushchenko has spent almost 5 years watching it and contributing to it. The same applies to Yulia “Worker Bee” Tymoshenko and Viktor “ProFFessor” Yanukovych.

Meanwhile, Ukraine gets raped. Economically. Politically. Legally. Literally.


In America, child sexual abuse cases have cost the Roman Catholic Church $2.6B. In Ukraine, no such recourse exists. The kids will suffer physically, psychologically and socially. To reload their lives, they will need financial/medical/psychological help and a complete identity change.


Thank you for commenting! As imperfect as your system may be, I'd very much prefer it to ours. After all, Canada ranks 4th on the Human Development Index and Ukraine ranks 82nd.

Your MPs don’t enjoy parliamentary immunity from prosecution on criminal charges such as embezzlement, murder, rape, etc, do they?

Corruption is the single strongest factor that contributes to the already giant gap between the rich and the poor in Ukraine.

Whether or not the MPs in question are guilty, this case should become a cause celebre for Ukrainians who oppose parliamentary immunity. Unfortunately, short of angry online outbursts, no public protests have taken place so far. No rallies have been held. We’re silent lambs.

Unless hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, I doubt that parliamentary immunity will be abolished and the three MPs will stand trial. Tymoshenko will do everything to avoid this sort of risk.

On the other hand, a smear campaign may not be out of the question. While I’m loath to apply the presumption of innocence to high-profile suspects who enjoy a priori immunity from prosecution, I’m trying to keep an open mind. I wouldn't exclude the possibility of the BYuT MPs’ involvement being a hoax, despite the outrageous murder committed by BYuT MP Viktor Lozynsky.

All is “fair” in our country and will be that way until we fix it.


That’s exactly my point!

elmer said...

The Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) has passed a law eliminating parliamentary, and presidential and judicial immunity, along with some other provisions, on the first reading, with well over 300 votes.

However, under Ukraine's system, there are further steps to be taken, including review by the constitutional court, so actual implementation and effectiveness won't take place until next year.

There should be a way to speed that up.

This is a horrid situation, and, to a certain extent, it does stink of "political provocation." (It seems that a politician from the Party of Regions broke the story - on the eve of elections.) BYuT have fired back at Yanukovych, pointing out that he was involved in rape (gang-rape), plus to assault and break-ins. And, of course, there is Yanukovych's participation in election fraud in the last presidential election.

Some of the accused lawmakers are claiming that they had not been at the Artek camp for years. But there seem to be apartments involved, not located at the camp itself.

Nevertheless, this is a horrid situation - it is clear that Ukraine's system is, to use the sovok terminology, "inadequate."

I wonder if the so-called "political elite" will do anything about it, other than just continue to rape, rob and pillage Ukraine. I wonder if they will take a good, cold hard look at things, and do the right thing, and do what needs to be done to fix the system.

After all, it was Tymoshenko who called everyone in Ukraine to "build the best government in Ukraine."

I wonder if the "political elite" will finally listen.




Pawlina said...

Taras, you're right that the Ukrainian people need to take matters into their own hands. You need to have your own "tea party" ... maybe twin Kyiv with Boston? :-)

(I'm only half-joking.)

And you keep missing my point when I make the comparisons between our countries. Appearances can be deceiving. Yes, there is no place I'd rather live than Canada (unless Ukraine gets its act together). And America would be my next choice.

But don't be too envious, and be careful what you wish for. We too have plenty of wolves in sheep's clothing (including a former prime minister or two).

Western politicians still are able to get away with too much. Yes, overall they have more decorum than yours, and have to be a lot more subtle in their chicanery because few are above the law (or at least the "law" of public opinion). So in that sense, I can understand how our system looks better to you.

And ok, ok, I'll admit it is. But I believe that it's better NOT because of the calibre of politicians so much as the tolerance level of our civil society. (After all, we elect our leaders on a local level.) As well, there are enough "special interest" groups working together to pressure in whatever way they can the charlatans that manage to get into office (they're not all corrupt) to keep their shenanigans to a minimum. Applying pressure is all we can do either, but we do it.

So you're absolutely right. The Ukrainian people likewise need to apply pressure on your corrupt politicians. By the same token, you need to support those who have sufficient integrity to at least stay out of trouble. One step at a time!

Your next step, I believe, is to get back to the streets in protest.

Ukrainian people are incredibly intelligent, which is why your barbarian occupiers have always been so brutal. They have to kill your spirit to get/keep control. At the present time, tho, they're in a holding pattern, so get that fighting spirit back while you still can!

Then get back on centre stage, and keep the rest of the world fascinated. The oligarchs need the trust of the rest of the world to carry on 'business as usual" ... and public protests challenging the status quo would go far to undermine that trust. (Don't underestimate the appeal of revolutionaries, especially peaceful ones!)

I appreciate that Ukrainians must be getting weary of protests that (seem to) change nothing, but changing a centuries-long course is a slow process. Persistence is the key. In today's world, either the people will wear down the oligarchs... or vice-versa.

BTW, diaspora Ukrainians are behind you 100% of the way. We have a lot of experience with protest marches and etc. in our part of the world, so don't be shy to reach out for reinforcements. :-)

Taras said...


Did you enjoy Lytvyn’s Hillary moment? “In a God-forsaken parents brought me into this world.”?

What a rich display of emotion from a “poor” presidential hopeful who blasts the oligarchs and has:
a luxury apartment in Kyiv;
a privatized state dacha in Koncha-Zaspa; plus

a daughter who owns a luxury boutique and buys herself a brand new $65,000 car.


Nothing is perfect in this world, but your system is better — much better — than ours. The numbers don’t lie.

In Ukraine, protests acted as a powerful agent of change in the late 80s-early 90s and in 2004-2005. It was the lack of follow-up protests, caused by widespread public discouragement and Ukraine’s deep-seated slave mentality, that led to post-change setbacks and stagnation.

I fully agree that governments — no matter how good or bad they are — must be held accountable. At the end of the day, nobody will do our job for us.

So, in the spirit of razom nas bahato, I want to thank you for your encouragement:)!

elmer said...

These people just don't get it.

The Lytvyn article reveals 1) that the party members "put down the stake money" (the registration fee of 2.5 million) for their horse, Lytvyn, who is, by their own account, expected to come in third and 2) you're not going to get anything more out of them about campaign expenses.

They played one of the "life videos", in which Lytvyn talked about how the oligarchs had grabbed the government, and how they had put their drivers, their masseuses and bodyguards into the Parliament.

Problem is - Lytvyn had oligarchs sitting in the hall, and one of the gofers (errand boys) for one of the oligarchs, a gofer named Volodymyr Herasimchuk, was made a member of Parliament in the Lytvyn bloc courtesy of his oligarch billionaire, Andrew Ivanov. The gofer was even on the presidium with Lytvyn!

Talk about an insane asylum!

Of course, everyone ignored that part, because each party, each bloc in Ukraine is filled with thug oligarchs and their
gofers and henchmen and butt-boys, and they are extremely self-satisfied - just look at the faces in the Pravda article about the Lytvyn convention.

Those bastards and bitches are about to explode from their vain self-satisfaction - they actually think they're doing some good!

And the tears - oh, the tears, because some lady had given him one of those traditional, beautiful embroidered "towels" (they are not really towels). Turns out, it was embroidered by Lytvyn's mom.

He used the damn thing to wipe his face.

On that ground alone, which is a crime in my view, I would not vote for him.

Oh, yeah - the stupid SOB's - when it came time for superhero Lytvyn to make his grand entrance, having been "unanimously" nominated by voice acclamation (no need to actually count in Ukraine), they played a grand entrance theme - "Время вперед!", which was used during sovok times to open every newscast.


The sovok legacy......

Just putrid.

Lingüista said...

Protests that don't change anything are well known in South America, where I was born. How often did Brazilians also get the line about "Brazilians not being ready for democracy", and "it'll never work here" and "we're too corrupt" (gee, remember our impeached president Fernando Collor--to think I voted for that SOB!). Brazilians had protests for democracy and accountability on the streets, from the Diretas Já down to the impeachment movement. Every time the same was said: of course it didn't work, we're Brazilians, this is Brazil, we just aren't serious like those damn Europeans and Americans, we're too laid back, it's never going to work...

Yet it seems things have changed, and Brazil seems to be headed more or less in the right direction (despite President Lula's openings to Venezuela's Hugo Chávez).

There was a time when "everbody knew" in Brazil that our country "could never work" because our politicians and ruling élite were "the worst kind of corrupt cabal" in the world, etc. Slowly, things got better. Newspapers started demanding accountability, and even though every new scandal seemed to just confirm the old idea that "politicians are just scum", it also seemed to strengthen the process whereby the next politician would be a little less likely to indulge in their traditional corrupt ways.

Brazil is far from Canada -- still I think I've seen significant progress. I'm hoping the same will happen with Ukraine. (Of course, it's true Brazil didn't have Russia right next door; the US were not so close, and they were more interested in Chile...)

Lingüista said...

The above was more of a reaction to your discussion with Pawlina, Taras. (I share her impression, by the way, that child molestation seems a bit much for a smear campaign, which is why I feel willing to believe it... or will you tell me that I'm being naive about the low level of political fights in Ukraine? :-)

Where does the idea of immunity from such crimes come from in Ukrainian law? At least given this case, it looks quite stupid.

Lingüista said...

On a rather different topic... listening to the wife's lacrimose defense of her husband, I felt like learning some Ukrainian. It sounded so similar to the Russian I hear at home every day, I almost thought I could understand it. Damn! I like languages so much, I may end up trying this too. (I saw a nice-looking Teach Yourself Ukrainian course the other day at the university bookstore...)

Taras said...

I too believe Brazil seems to be headed more or less in the right direction. But not Ukraine. Escrava Ukrayina lags Brazil economically and Peru legally.

As of today, this child sexual abuse case leaves a lot of questions unanswered. In Ukraine, parliamentary immunity means immunity from prosecution on any and all kinds of charges.

If you understand and speak some Russian, learning some Ukrainian won’t be a problem. (Unless you’re a Kremlin-leaning Russian:)