Campus, News

Charges dropped against BU prof. suspected of meth distribution

Somerville District Court dismissed the case against Boston University lecturer Irina Kristy on Thursday, according to the Somerville Journal.

The Somerville Police Department and the Middlesex District Attorney’s office dismissed the charges after further investigation, a DA’s office spokesman told the Journal.

Kristy faced suspicion after her son Grigory Genkin was charged with distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy to violate the drug law and drug violation in a school zone, according to an article published by The Daily Free Press on Nov. 17. Police had named her “complicit” in the operation.

Somerville Deputy Police Chief Paul Upton declined to comment.

The DA and Kristy were unavailable for comment in time for publication.

Kristy declined comment in November when The DFP originally reported her arrest. In subsequent articles, she has also been unavailable for comment.

Lev Levitin, a professor in the College of Engineering and a personal friend of Kristy, said he was unsurprised by the dismissal.

“I expected that because the charges were absolutely preposterous, absolutely ungrounded,” he said in a phone interview with The DFP. “I know [her] so well that it was ridiculous to allow the idea that she could be involved. Absolutely impossible.”

Levitin collaborated with more than 30 other members of the Boston community to write a letter of petition to Gerard Leone, the Middlesex Country District Attorney, on Kristy’s behalf.

The letter, dated Jan. 11, noted Kristy’s accomplishments as an activist, educator and person.

“Her absent-mindedness coupled with misguided respect for privacy rights of her son together with the focus on her work and humanitarian activity on behalf of other people created this unfortunate situation,” the letter stated, “but she is certainly a distinguished member of Greater Boston academic community and a heroic defender of human rights.”

In the letter, the petitioners said “under no circumstances” could Kristy have committed any criminal act.

The undersigned said the criminal complaint and ensuing media attention caused both BU and Suffolk University to place Kristy on administrative leave.

Also, the petitioners described reports suggesting Kristy’s suspected involvement in the operation as “improbable and absurd,” as well as damaging to her reputation and standing in Boston’s academic community.

Levitin told The DFP the media coverage of her arrest has had a negative impact on her career.

“Right now it’s a very damaging situation,” he said. “I think all this publicity was very damaging for her.”

Paul Ezust, a professor of mathematics and computer science and Suffolk University, expressed a similar sentiment and said Kristy has already been damaged in spite of the dropped charges.

“As a result of the gross overreaction to those charges and the presumption of guilt that motivated many in the press to embellish and extrapolate the available facts, she lost the two adjunct teaching positions that had enabled her to stay afloat financially,” he said via email. “She now faces huge legal and other expenses and the real possibility of losing her home.”

The charges against Genkin remain. He is due in court for a probable cause hearing on Feb. 29.

One Comment

  1. I would like to thank the Daily Free Pres and personally Ms. Emily Overhold for the high-quality article concerning the exoneration of Ms. Irina Kristy. You have done an excellent professional job, interviewing, finding out correct facts and details, and summing up all of that in a dense informative text. The readers get a right picture of Irina Kristy, as a champion of human rights, a defender of law and justice in the past, and a devoted educator today. We all firmly believe that she will endure the unfortunate episode she had to go through, and she will, as before, be supported by the academic communities at both BU and Suffolk University.