FBI tricks woman to return to U.S., then charges her in child-porn case

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A Ukrainian woman was charged with sexually exploiting a child Monday after she was lured back to the United States from her homeland under the impression that she would only be a witness in a child-pornography case, officials said.

Olena Kalichenko, 27, was arrested at Kennedy Airport on Saturday by FBI agents in a case in which a Smithtown real estate investor has already been charged with producing, at different times, child pornography involving a 3-year-old Ukrainian girl and a 6-year-old Smithtown girl.

The Smithtown man, Joseph Valerio, has been held without bail since March on charges of sexual exploitation of children, transportation of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

Sources said Kalichenko voluntarily agreed to return to the United States to testify against Valerio. But an FBI attaché in Kiev did not tell her that she would also be charged for her role in the case, since there is no extradition treaty between the United States and the Ukraine.

Kalichenko was involved in the case involving the 3-year-old Ukrainian girl, Eastern District federal prosecutor Allen Bode said.

Kalichenko had been scheduled to be arraigned at the federal court in Central Islip Monday on charges of sexual exploitation of a child, transportation of child pornography and production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States. But Kalichenko's attorney, federal public defender Randi Chavis, said her client's English was not that good and asked that the arraignment be postponed until a Russian-language interpreter could be present.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco agreed to the postponement.

Bianco also agreed to a request by prosecutor Bode to detain Kalichenko because of the lack of an extradition treaty with Ukraine.

Valerio knew Kalichenko when she lived in the United States, and he is accused of persuading her to create child pornography with the 3-year-old when she returned to her homeland.

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An investigation into the case of the 3-year-old also led to charges against Valerio involving the 6-year-old Smithtown girl, officials have said.If convicted, Kalichenko could face at least 15 years in prison on each charge, Eastern District spokesman Robert Nardoza said.

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