A Ukrainian woman, who claimed she was lured back to the United States by the FBI solely to testify against her former boyfriend, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison for producing child pornography, officials said.
The woman, Olena Kalichenko, 32, a Ukrainian citizen, produced 46 custom-made videos in that country of a 2-year-old girl engaged in pornographic acts, prosecutors said. In exchange, she received thousands of dollars from her former boyfriend between April and November of 2012, officials said.
The former boyfriend, Joseph Valerio, of Smithtown, was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 2017 for engaging in the production of child pornography in the case of the Ukrainian child, as well the production of child pornography in an unrelated case involving a six-year-old Long Island girl, according to officials. Valerio had scripted the type of child pornography Kalichenko was to produce, officials said.
Kalichenko, who testified against Valerio, pleaded guilty in April of 2016 to conspiracy to sexually assault a child, sexual exploitation of a child, production of child pornography for importation into the United States, and transportation of child pornography, officials said.
Before she pleaded guilty, Kalichenko “claimed that she had been promised immunity prior to her arrest and she cooperated as a result,” according to court papers. Kalichenko was arrested when she flew back to the United States. She claimed that an FBI agent in Kiev had promised her immunity and that she even paid for her own plane ticket from the Ukraine to the United States.
However, then U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco “found that no promises of immunity were made to Kalichenko and the FBI had no obligation to correct such an erroneous assumption on Kalichenko’s part,” court papers said. There was no treaty between the Ukraine and the United States that federal prosecutors could have invoked to get her extradited to the United States.
Eastern District United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement Tuesday: “The defendant’s lengthy prison sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who victimizes children by producing and trafficking in child pornography on the internet or otherwise: You will be identified, apprehended, prosecuted and punished.”
Kalichenko’s attorney, Murray Singer, of Port Washington, declined to comment, as did the prosecutor on the case, Assistant United States Attorney Allen Bode.
Valerio was convicted in 2014 of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child, sexually exploiting a child, and transporting, receiving and possessing child pornography, officials said.
In the case of the 6-year-old Long Island girl, officials said, FBI and Suffolk County police officers executed a search warrant on Valerio’s home in 2014. There, they found a wooden stage, hidden cameras, costumes, computers, and other electronic devices that were used to produce the child pornography involving the 6-year-old, officials said.