A Jefferson County grand jury has returned two misdemeanor charges against a Ukrainian woman who allegedly violated a custody order by taking her 10-year-old son to her native country to live.
Svetlana A. Sorokina, 39, faces counts of second-degree custodial interference and second-degree criminal contempt in an indictment handed up Thursday in County Court.
Prosecutors say that on July 3, 2010, she defied a custody order issued by state Supreme Court Judge Hugh A. Gilbert by taking her son, Nicholai, to live in Simfereol, Ukraine, for a protracted period. The custodial agreement called for the boys father, John E. Moody, Watertown, to have custody of the youth for alternating two-week periods.
In 2010, Mr. Moody was unable to reach his son by phone during a visit to Ms. Sorokinas Alexandria Bay home. He claims that Ms. Sorokina, his ex-wife, then responded to an email from him, saying she had taken Nicholai to Ukraine, in violation of the custody order. She was taken into custody by U.S. Customs officers at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, after she arrived alone on a flight April 8.
Ms. Sorokinas bail was set April 24 in County Court by Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky at $100,000, and she has been held at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building on that amount since. Her attorney, George F. Hildebrandt, Syracuse, could not be reached for comment on whether he plans to ask that the bail be lowered given the misdemeanor charges returned.
District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert said a grand jury can, at its discretion, return misdemeanor counts in the form of either a prosecutors information or an indictment. If a prosecutors information is returned, the case is returned to a lower court within the jurisdiction of where the alleged offense occurred. If an indictment is returned, the case remains in County Court.
Judge McClusky will continue to preside over Ms. Sorokinas proceedings.