2008-12-11 / Local & State

Pa. Businessman Charged With Sex Crimes In Russia


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A wealthy Russian-born businessman from suburban Philadelphia was charged Wednesday with traveling to orphanages in his native country to molest young girls and hire them out as prostitutes.

Andrew Mogilyansky, 38, of Richboro, was charged with traveling abroad to engage in illegal sexual activity and with committing sex crimes while overseas.

A federal indictment alleges he molested three teenage girls brought to his apartment in St. Petersburg, Russia, from a nearby orphanage in late 2003 and early 2004, then recruited them into an online-based child prostitution business in Moscow that he ran with several other people.

The girls were 13 and 14 years old, Acting U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid said.

"The significance of this case is, we want people to fully understand that you cannot just go to another country and think you are out of the reach of law enforcement,'' Magid said.

"We deny the allegations, and we look forward to addressing them in court,'' said Mogilyansky's defense attorney, George H. Newman.

Mogilyansky was being held pending a detention hearing Friday.

Four Russian men already have been convicted in Russia in the case, authorities said.

Magid said Mogilyansky has dual citizenship and that authorities will argue he is a flight risk and should be held until his trial.

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