Case #615264 in regards to Nikolay Kalka

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Honorable Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula
1200 Ontario Street
Cleveland, OH, 44113
Courtroom 23-D

Your Honor:

We, the undersigned people of greater Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Northeast Ohio, and internationally, including bishops, pastors and members of Slavic evangelical unions and congregations across the United States of America and the world, are asking for your mercy for our brother and friend Nikolay Kalka.

When making your decision regarding Pastor Kalka’s sentence, we ask you to consider his lifetime of service in spreading the Gospel, the fact that he has led a good and decent life in service to others, his cultural upbringing, and the fact that he has had no prior offenses but rather has led a stellar life in America as a respected person, who poses no threat to society, and very importantly, did not have any intent to commit the crimes that he was convicted of by the jury on August 17, 2017.

Nikolay Kalka is a father of 6, a grandfather of 15, a husband to his wife for more than 50 years and was a minister of the underground church in the Soviet Union. This is a man who loves and respects humanity so much that he put his own life in danger to preach the Gospel in a brutal atheist communist dictatorship. Upon immigrating to America as a religious refugee, he served as pastor of a church in Parma, Ohio. Not only has he never exhibited the type of behavior in which he was convicted of, or any other criminal behavior, he has lived an exemplary life and taught his congregation and his family to treat all people with love and respect.

We also ask you to put into context Pastor Kalka’s upbringing in the Ukrainian culture. We feel there is a great cultural difference that led to the misunderstanding of his actions that occurred at the Middleburg Heights Recreation Center on March 11, 2017. Pastor Kalka immigrated to America at the age of 49 and throughout his life has been sheltered in the Ukrainian community, including his factory job, where he worked with many Slavic co-workers for 16 years before he retired. In the Ukrainian culture, it is acceptable to interact and be playful with children who are not related to you. Pastor Kalka was not aware that touching another person’s child, more so holding a child under a fountain, is unacceptable under American law. We sincerely believe that during the incident, he did not want to harm these young girls and had no sexual intention of any sort. Your Honor, you have seen evil criminals commit heinous acts, and have acted to protect the public and punish these offenders. Nikolay Kalka certainly does not rise to this standard – an elderly man with no sexual intent nor intent to kidnap the victim in this case.

We know that Pastor Kalka now stands before you for the crimes of which the jury convicted him. It is up to you, Your Honor, to choose a sentence for him.  We believe Pastor Kalka had no intent to commit kidnapping nor gross sexual imposition. Furthermore, we see that Pastor Kalka deeply regrets the entire incident. Due to cultural differences, he did not act in a way that is socially acceptable here in America. Per his account, he was simply horse-playing with the children, as is acceptable in the Ukrainian culture. Now he understands that this is unacceptable in America and he is remorseful and sorry for what he has done.

We believe that when all the facts are weighed, Nikolay Kalka poses no threat to society and incarceration would not benefit society nor foster justice. We pray and ask you, Your Honor, to have mercy on Nikolay, because even the shortest prison sentence, in his case, will be a lifetime sentence for him, due to his age and poor health.

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