18-yr-old Indian American gets 40-year term for rape


Prime VIP
Harpreet Singh, a resident of Queens, New York, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for raping a 16-year-old girl who he befriended on a social networking site and induced her to send him her nude photographs.

Besides 18-year-old Singh, four others -- Noman Gondal, 18, Anjam Shahzad, 24, Vikram Harpreet, 18, and a juvenile offender -- had earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree rape. The sentencing of the remaining four is pending.

Arsalan Gondal, 22, who was also indicted, is presently being sought after failing to appear for a scheduled court appearance.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Robert C Kohm found Harpreet Singh guilty of six counts of first-degree rape, five counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, one count of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of third-degree rape (statutory), five counts of third-degree rape and one count of second-degree coercion following two hours of jury deliberation.

Two years ago, the defendant and his friends sexually assaulted a young girl and forever changed her life, Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown said.

While the scars of what occurred may be with her for the rest of her days, she proved to be resilient, exhibiting grace and dignity as she confronted her attackers during the trial and sentencing.

Brown said Harpreet Singh began communicating with the girl in early 2008. At first he requested head and shoulder photographs of her and then progressively asked for more photographs. She complied with his requests.

June 23, 2008, he told the girl he would post her nude photographs on the Internet and send them to his friends if she didn't have sex with him. The following afternoon, at the home of a co-defendant, Harpreet Singh and four other co-defendants sexually abused and raped her.

That afternoon, the girl returned home distraught and tried to commit suicide. Her mother saved her and called for the police, after which the incident came to light.