It would seem logical that anyone dealing with children would have to undergo extensive background checks.

However, a convicted U.S. pedophile was given a free hand to work with orphanages and schools in Ukraine.

Moreover, Ukrainian law enforcement appears to have ignored his activities in the country, unlike U.S. authorities.

On Jan. 30, a U.S. court sentenced Charles Richard Skaggs, Jr., also known as Rick Skaggs, to life in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor, possession of child pornography and concealment of evidence. Skaggs had a prior conviction in 1997 out of Indiana’s Clark County for having sexual misconduct with a minor.

Martin Foley, a journalist who has researched the Skaggs case, told the Kyiv Post that his work with Ukrainian orphanages has been investigated by the Ukrainian police, but they have made no progress so far.


The police and the Prosecutor General’s Office did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.

Skaggs in Ukraine

According to the indictment, “Skaggs founded and operated an organization in the country of Ukraine that advertised that it helped orphans and at-risk children through funds raised in the United States.”

“Skaggs would periodically travel to Ukraine and meet with children, teenagers and persons caring for them in group homes and orphanages,” the indictment read.

The indictment also says that Skaggs transported outside the U.S. sexually explicit videos during a trip to Ukraine and then brought them back to the U.S. in 2016.

Skaggs has been working through the Ukrainian Angels Resource Network, a charity that helped orphans and other children in Ukraine. According to its Facebook page, the group was set up in 2004 and its activities continued until 2016.

It appears that Skaggs was the creator or the leader of the network. The network did not respond to a request for comment.

“This mission was started in 2004 after (a) series of large police raids in Ukraine and abroad that ended three criminal enterprises including one that had lured hundreds of Ukrainian children and teens into exploitation and prostitution and even child porn,” the Ukrainian Angels Resource Network’s Facebook page reads. “While the arrests stopped these particular enterprises, it did nothing to help the children and families afterwards. A large outpouring of support materialized through the efforts of many concerned people including ourselves.”


Specifically, Skaggs has donated clothing, food and other items to orphanages and schools in Mykolayiv, Cherkasy, Bobrynets in Kirovohrad Oblast, Kherson, Ushomyr in Zhytomyr Oblast, Kyiv and Odesa.

The Kyiv Post has obtained a copy of a formal thank-you note issued to Skaggs by the Bobrynets General Education Boarding School.

“(Skaggs) helped us, played with the children, treated them with sweets,” Iryna Gurtova, a teacher at the Bobrynets school, told the Kyiv Post. “It was fun. He bought clothes for children who needed them and gave them gifts. He visited twice a year.”

Other orphanages and schools supported by Skaggs did not respond to requests for comment.

Acquaintances in Ukraine

According to Facebook, Skaggs claimed to have a Ukrainian adopted daughter named Dariya Skaggs. Some of the people who worked with the Ukrainian Angels Resource Network have communicated with Dariya as part of their efforts to donate to Ukrainian orphanages.


However, journalist Foley argues that Dariya does not exist, and her Facebook account is a fake created by Skaggs himself. The Kyiv Post was unable to find any people who knew Dariya personally. Facebook accounts of both Dariya and Skaggs haven’t posted anything since January 2017.

The Kyiv Post found out that the photos used on the account belong to a young Ukrainian woman with a different name who appears to have no connection to Skaggs.

“I was shocked when I found out (about Skaggs’ conviction),” Yana Lavrusenko, who was an interpreter for Skaggs in Ukraine, told the Kyiv Post. “He behaved like an ordinary person. I didn’t notice anything.”

Carl Mikael Teglund, a Swedish-born acquaintance of Skaggs, said he had met the American at an expat meeting in a Kyiv café in 2016.

“He brought some girls with him,” he said. “A really odd dude. I had a different political opinion back then. So I defriended (Skaggs and Dariya) because they used this platform (only) to campaign for (U.S. President Donald) Trump.”

Teglund also said he doubted whether Dariya Skaggs was a real person.

Randall Roffe, an American alternative medicine doctor, said that Skaggs had come to Kyiv in the summer of 2016.


“We ate at the Katyusha (café) near the Arsenalna (metro station), and he had a young woman with him,” Roffe told the Kyiv Post. “She showed all the behavior I have come to recognize as trauma. That’s when I began to have my doubts. It was like he was pimping her.”

Roffe said that he wanted to volunteer with Skaggs’ charity organization but it didn’t work out.

“Skaggs had me fooled until I met him personally,” Roffe said. “Dariya and I communicated on Facebook. I was looking for an organization to volunteer with, and smooth out the residency requirements. I thought they were a sincere organization.”

He said that Skaggs had apparently found out that he was investigating pedophilia and then had withdrawn from contact.

American Mark Brown told the Kyiv Post that he knows a few people who helped Skaggs.

“They are very surprised and find (it) shocking to hear this about him,” Brown said. “They almost don’t want to believe it.”

He said he had donated to some of the orphanages that Skaggs supported.

“Sadly, Ukrainian orphanages don’t require strict background and fingerprint checks,” Brown added.

Skaggs investigation

The U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana delivered the verdict in the Skaggs case in January. Among other things, Skaggs was found guilty of sexually exploiting his own underage daughter in Indiana by producing sexually explicit videos of her.


The case began in 2015 as an investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, of child sex tourism in Ukraine, including Skaggs’ work with orphanages there.

In 2016, Skaggs was searched at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during his return trip from Ukraine to Indiana and arrested by the FBI. Law enforcement officers recovered thumb drives that contained child pornography, including pornography produced by Skaggs in Indiana.

Law enforcement officers also found a hard drive that Skaggs had hidden in the ceiling of a shared laundry room in his residence. The hard drive contained images of videos of child pornography, including copies of the same pornography found on the thumb drives seized at the airport.

Journalist Martin Foley contributed to this story.

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