Child-Sex Crime Suspect Kept Behind Bars in U.S.

PHILADELPHIA — A wealthy Russian-born entrepreneur remains jailed on child-sex charges while a U.S. judge who heard from dozens of his supporters ponders whether to release him to await trial.

Andrew Mogilyansky, 38, holds dual U.S.-Russian citizenship and owns several businesses valued at $10 million in 2004. He estimated his personal fortune two years later to be $5.3 million.

U.S. prosecutors last week charged him with traveling to orphanages in Russia to molest young girls and hire them out as prostitutes. After a three-hour detention hearing Monday, a federal magistrate said she needed more information to decide whether he posed a flight risk or a danger to society.

Mogilyansky's name surfaced in a related Russian probe that ended with four recent convictions, U.S. authorities said. A U.S. investigator testified Monday that two people now imprisoned in Russia told her that Mogilyansky had paid money to keep his name out of that trial.

"Mr. Mogilyansky is a businessman. … He is willing to buy his freedom," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Morgan-Kelly said.

But defense lawyer George Newman said his client has known about the investigation for years and has not fled, despite opportunities to do so on his many trips abroad each year.

The charges stem from a single trip he took to Russia in late 2003-early 2004. The indictment unsealed last week accuses Mogilyansky of bringing three girls from an orphanage to his St. Petersburg apartment and molesting them during the trip. Authorities say he then recruited them into an online-based child prostitution business in Moscow.

When pressed by the judge, the prosecutor acknowledged that there is no evidence that he continues to run a prostitution ring. But she said most pedophiles are repeat offenders.

Mogilyansky's companies include a car export business that employs 35 people and a company that distributes fire-extinguishing equipment. He lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and their three young children.