“At this time, I need help from you who support me,” Venckienė, a former judge, said in an open letter published on Thursday, asking her supporters to donate money which she would use to fight extradition from the US to Lithuania.
The letter was published in an online newspaper run by one of Venckienė’s supporters. She claimed that charges against her were a conspiracy by “the corrupt law enforcement”.
Venckienė, who fled the country in 2013, is likely to face charges under 12 sections of the Criminal Code. The Prosecutor General’s Office said that the main allegations against her involve unlawful collection and publication of information about private lives of individuals and other criminal deeds, which are alleged to have been committed in 2010 in collaboration with another person.
An investigation into Venckienė’s actions was also conducted by Šiauliai prosecutors, who allege that the former judge and politician had refused to obey a December 2011 court order to hand over her niece to mother Laimutė Stankūnaitė, prevented a bailiff from executing a court ruling, abused her rights as a legal guardian of a small child by psychologically frustrating the child, physically resisting a police officer and causing minor injuries to Stankūnaitė.
Venckienė was one of the central figures in the so-called Garliava paedophilia scandal. For some time, she was the foster parent of her niece. The girl’s father, Venckienė’s brother Drąsius Kedys, had accused the girl’s mother Stankūnaitė, her sister Violeta Naruševičienė, Kaunas judge Jonas Furmanavičius and former public adviser to parliamentary speaker Andrius Ūsas of sexually abusing the child.
On October 5, 2009, Furmanavičius and Naruševičienė were shot to death in Kaunas. Ūsas was the only person on trial for paedophilia but was cleared of all charges. Kedys was found dead in April 2010, while Ūsas was found dead in June that year.
After the story, Venckienė and her supporters established a new party, Way of Courage, and won a Seimas mandate.