PHILADELPHIA – A wealthy Russian-American car exporter was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for procuring girls from a Russian orphanage to have sex with them.
Andrew Mogilyansky, 39, of suburban Philadelphia raped one girl on her 14th birthday and a 13-year-old in her first sexual encounter, the victims said in letters to the court.
The original indictment and an $8 million civil lawsuit accuse Mogilyansky of helping finance and run an online child-sex ring aimed at rich international customers. However, he pleaded guilty only to being a customer of the now-defunct "Berenika" ring.
"I still feel his repugnant breath. I hate him," one of the victims, now 18, wrote in a statement read in court.
Friends from Mogilyanksy's days at Columbia University testified Wednesday, describing him as brilliant and generous, and his wife called him a loving husband and father. A defense psychotherapist concluded he is not a sexual predator.
But the victims wrote that he left them pained, depressed and unable to trust men since the assaults in 2003 and 2004. Mogilyansky was accused of getting the girls from an orphanage on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, then assaulting them at an apartment in the Russian city.
Mogilyanksy received the top of the 78- to 97-month sentencing range negotiated as part of his plea to four "sex tourism" counts.
U.S. District Judge Mary A. McLaughlin decried "this business of going abroad to have sex with young girls." She found the defendant's accomplishments impressive but called his crimes "grave."
"To take young teenagers from that orphanage to an apartment and have sex with them is a grave criminal act," McLaughlin said.
Mogilyansky had lived in Richboro northeast of Philadelphia with his wife and their three toddlers until his bail was revoked following his December arrest.
"It wasn't until after I was arrested that I looked myself in the mirror and said, 'How could I have done this?"' Mogilyansky told the judge. "This isn't me."
Prosecutors previously estimated his wealth at $5 million to $10 million, and said he earned $750,000 a year as the owner of several businesses, including IFEX Global in Bensalem, the car exporting company.
But defense lawyer Jack McMahon scoffed at suggestions his client remains a millionaire, and prosecutors did not challenge his request for a low fine of $12,500.
Mogilyansky must also pay each victim $5,000 restitution, register as a sex offender after his release and serve 15 years of federal probation.
More than 50 "sex tourism" cases have been brought in the U.S. under the 2003 Protect Act, which aims to prosecute Americans who travel overseas — beyond the reach of U.S. law — to have sex with children.
The criminal case stems from a related 2006 trial in Russia that spawned several convictions, one of which brought a defendant a 10-year sentence.
The civil suit, based in part on evidence from the Russian trial, seeks $8 million in damages from Mogilyansky and others on behalf of five alleged victims. Civil lawyers for the plaintiffs and Mogilyansky did not immediately return calls Wednesday.