A Ukrainian woman who violated a custody order by taking her son to her native land pleaded guilty Friday in Jefferson County Court to the noncriminal violation of disorderly conduct.
Svetlana A. Sorokina initially faced a felony charge in April for defying a custody order issued by Supreme Court Judge Hugh A. Gilbert by taking her son, Nicholai, to live in Simfereol, Ukraine, in July 2010 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. A grand jury investigating the matter in June returned only misdemeanor counts of custodial interference and criminal contempt.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills said the decision to reduce the charges to disorderly conduct was made in the childs best interest and with Mr. Moodys consent.
This entire offer was fashioned with the child in mind, she said.
If Ms. Sorokina had been convicted of a more serious offense, she likely would have faced immigration proceedings that could have impacted her ability to return home any time soon. Mrs. Mills said that she believed immigration problems will be mitigated, if not resolved, by the noncriminal conviction.
Following her plea, Ms. Sorokina was sentenced by Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky to a time served at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building. Ms. Sorokina spent about five months in the PSB, which Mrs. Mills said was a significant period of incarceration for someone with no prior criminal record.
Shes served a decent amount of time and there have been consequences for her actions, Mrs. Mills said.
Ms. Sorokinas attorney, George F. Hildebrandt, Syracuse, said she intend to return to her soon as possible and plans to cooperate with Mr. Moody on future custody issues.
Ms. Sorokina has never intended to deprive her son of his fathers company, Mr. Hildebrandt said.