//Indian American gets jail term on internet based child sex charges

Indian American gets jail term on internet based child sex charges

Indo-Asian News Service

New York, November 16, 2006

An Indian American man has been sentenced to five years in prison on two counts of violation of the computer pornography and child exploitation act and one count of obscene internet contact.

Mahesh Patel of Canton, Georgia, has been found guilty of sexually propositioning an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl in an internet chat room and was sentenced to five years in prison, according to reports in New York.

A court in Fayette county sentenced Patel, 48, to five years in jail followed by five years on probation. He will also have to register as a sex offender under Georgia law.

According to a report in the Fayette Daily News, Patel's wife, father, family and friends pled for mercy on Wednesday prior to the sentencing.

Even as Patel covered his face and cried after hearing the sentence, his wife said, "I need him".

"Our daughters need two parents," she said.

Judge Paschal English asked Patel, "Why weren't you thinking of them (Patel's family members) when you were doing this?"

"I was in a different frame of mind," Patel, owner of a dry-cleaning business, answered.

Patel, who had taken the stand in his own defence, said he was merely role-playing with the girl whom he said looked like 20-years-old in the photo, the officer sent to him.

According to another report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Patel's defence attorney, Paul S Liston, said he will appeal against the verdict and sentence. He is also planning to ask for an appeal bond so that Patel can return to his family while the appeal makes its way through the system.