WICHITA, Kansas—A Russian woman has been sentenced to seven years in prison for taking a child she had with a Kansas man to her native country and demanding money before she would allow the father to talk to his daughter.
Bogdana Alexandrovna Osipova, who is referred to by her married name of Mobley in court documents, was sentenced on Thursday, June 6, for international parental kidnapping and two counts of attempting to extort money. She was convicted in March.
Brian Mobley was awarded joint custody of the girl in Sedgwick County, Kansas, when the couple divorced and his ex-wife didn’t have permission to leave with the children.
Prosecutors say she left Kansas in 2014 with two children, one from her marriage to Mobley.
Osipova was arrested in September 2017 after returning to the United States without her children to change child support arrangements.
In a Youtube video, Osipova’s oldest child, 16-year-old Ian Erdman, is asking U.S. Justice to free his mother.
Erdman said in the video that his mother saved him and his youngest sister from domestic abuse by Brian Mobley.
He said Mobley locked him up in the basement and scared him, often leaving him without food and water.
Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov previously rejected a plea from Kansas Republican Rep. Ron Estes that the younger children—ages 6 and 4—be reunited with their father.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a briefing that the children are living with relatives in Kaliningrad, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Antonov told Estes that Osipova has been a victim of “discrimination and psychological pressure” in the U.S. criminal case.
“We’ve attempted to work with Russian authorities to find a diplomatic solution to this situation on behalf of a constituent, but clearly Russia is not interested in adhering to court rulings or acting in good faith,” Estes said in a tweet on April 13. “I once again call on Russia to reunite this father with his children and will work with the State Department in solving this case.”
We’ve attempted to work with Russian authorities to find a diplomatic solution to this situation on behalf of a constituent but clearly Russia is not interested in adhering to court rulings or acting in good faith. https://t.co/DJGTew3WQe
— Rep. Ron Estes (@RepRonEstes) April 13, 2019
The U.S. State Department didn’t immediately return an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Monday.
Weeks before Osipova left for Russia, Mobley filed for divorce and was granted joint custody. The Russian court system granted the couple divorce in July 2014.
That December, a Kansas judge also granted the couple a divorce and ordered her to return the two youngest children. The Kansas judge awarded sole custody to her ex-husband because Osipova had left the United States without court approval or Mobley’s knowledge.
According to the U.S. criminal complaint, Mobley hasn’t been able to see his children. His ex-wife in January 2015 showed up to a meeting in Poland without the children. She allowed him to talk to the children on the phone and on Skype.
Zakharova said the Russian court sees the situation differently.
“Her claim to her ex-husband for alimony, which was supported by a Russian court, was qualified there as extortion,” Zakharova said in the ministry’s translation of a briefing.
By Heather Hollingsworth