Businessman Held in Girl Sex Case

PHILADELPHIA -- A wealthy Russian-born businessman from suburban Philadelphia has been charged with traveling to orphanages in St. Petersburg to molest young girls and hire them out as prostitutes in Moscow.

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

A U.S. federal indictment alleges that he molested three teenage girls brought to his apartment in St. Petersburg 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.

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

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

According to court documents, Mogilyansky ran several lucrative businesses including a car export business. He valued his personal net worth in 2006 at $5.3 million, court papers stated.

He also was listed as chairman and founder on the web site of the International Foundation for Terror Act Victims, which solicits donations for children injured in the school attacks in Beslan, North Ossetia, where more than 330 people died during a hostage standoff in 2004.