More Charges Filed Against Boardwalk Performer
OCEAN CITY - A street performer arrested last week on sex offense and assault charges after allegedly fondling a 16-year-old girl during a Boardwalk picture-taking session had more charges filed against him late last week as more and more of his alleged victims began to come forward with formal complaints.
On Aug. 17, OCPD officers arrested Boardwalk street performer Andrii Mokrishchev, 21, of Ukraine, who routinely performs as Patrick Star, a character on the popular cartoon 'Sponge Bob Square Pants, in full costume along with another individual who performs as the title character, on fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault charges after allegedly fondling a 16-year-old girl who posed for pictures with him.
The performers often pose with people for pictures in exchange for donations, and on Aug. 17, Mokrishchev allegedly grabbed a 16-year-old girl's buttocks. The victim left the area and located a uniformed OCPD officer, who investigated her complaint. An arrest warrant was obtained for Mokrishchev and he was taken into custody two days later and charged with fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault. He was then released from jail after posting a $3,500 bond.
However, the report of the initial arrest apparently prompted several other alleged victims to come forward and Mokrishchev was arrested again three days later on more sex offense and assault charges related to incidents while performing in character on the Boardwalk. On Aug. 20, OCPD officers charged Mokrischev with second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense for an alleged assault on a 32-year-old woman back on Aug. 9.
Mokrishchev has since been charged with sexually assaulted two additional females ages nine and 15 and the investigation is ongoing into several other similar assaults as well. All of the reported assaults occurred in August while Mokrishchev was performing while wearing the Patrick Star costume. The investigation also revealed Mokrishchev did not have permission from the trademark department of Nickelodeon Networks to represent the Patrick Star character.
Because Mokrishchev allegedly fondled a nine-year-old girl, he has also been charged with a third-degree sex offense in that incident, which is a felony. The third-degree sex offense carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in jail. Last Thursday, Mokrishchev appeared in District Court in Ocean City for a bond review, during which the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office requested his original bond of $3,500 be rescinded and asked the court to order him held in jail until trial.
The judge did rescind the original $3,500 bond and ordered him held at the Worcester County Jail and set bond in the second case at $50,000. His preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 18. The investigation is ongoing and the OCPD is encouraging anyone who has come into contact with Mokrishchev and believes they may have been assaulted and/or touched inappropriately to contact Corporal Scott Bernal at (410) 520-5294.