Why this story matters:
Venckienė, a former member of the Seimas, or unicameral parliament, rose to fame in Lithuania in 2008 when her brother claimed that several high-profile politicians had sexually abused his daughter.
The alleged rapists were influential judges and a local politician. Lithuanian society remains deeply split over the case.
Widespread distrust of the judicial system and known cases of corruption have led many to believe that these high-profile people did indeed abuse Venckienė's niece.
The situation gradually escalated into a highly publicized political scandal and in 2013 Venckienė fled to the U.S. It will now be up to the federal government of the United States to decide whether or not to hand over the former judge, and the process could take years.
American involvement will add yet another layer of complexity to this already convoluted and emotional case. So much of what happened was colored by the emotions of those involved, and the political agenda of those reporting, that many Lithuanians have come to believe that the full truth about the Venckienė case will never come to light.
Details from the story:
- Venckienė, a judge at the time of the allegations, publicly supported her brother, Drąsius Kedys, when the latter declared that his ex-wife had allowed members of a powerful pedophile circle to abuse their daughter.
- In 2010, Kedys was found dead. Venckienė took custody of his daughter, breaching the court's ruling that the girl should live with her mother.
- In 2012, authorities forcibly took the girl to her mother. Venckienė resigned as a judge and campaigned against corruption.
- In 2013, courts removed Venckienė's immunity and she fled to the United States.
- Venckienė was recently taken into custody in Chicago, and the General Prosecutor's Office in Lithuania stated extradition proceedings have started in the U.S.
- Signatures protesting the extradition are being collected.