This Article is From May 24, 2012

Indian man sentenced by US court for treating wife as slave

New York: An Indian man, who had been convicted of sexually abusing his wife and treating her like a slave has been sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to do over 200 hours of community service.

Vishal Jagota, 34, would also have to pay a fine of USD 1,000 and has been ordered under a permanent order of protection to stay away from his 25-year-old wife, who came to the US after an arranged marriage with him but was subject to sexual and physical abuse by her in-laws.

Judge William Nelson of Rockland County near New York decided against sending Jagota to prison on his sentencing yesterday but admonished Jagota as he ordered him to serve three years' probation and 220 hours of community service for third-degree assault.

The wife had been brutalized for three years after she came to the US by other family members including her mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

Judge Nelson also convicted Jagota's mother, Parveen, 57, and sister Rajani, 31, of the more serious crime of labour trafficking, as well as second-degree assault.

Parveen is accused of burning her daughter-in-law with a hot iron as punishment for poor work. She and her daughter face a maximum of seven years in prison when sentenced next month. Jagota's father, Aman Jagota, 62, was acquitted of labour trafficking along with sexual-abuse counts.

Prosecutors had wanted a 60 days sentence for Jagota, who once even bit his wife on the cheek and let his mother and sister treat her like a servant.

"He (Vishal Jagota) knew exactly what was going (on) in that household," the prosecution said. "He was an abuser. He should have stopped what the father, the mother and the sister (were) doing to the victim.

He turned his head on his wife. He didn't want to be bothered."

In her testimony, the woman told the judge that her in-laws and husband used intimidation, physical and sexual abuse, and manipulation to force her to work as a round-the-clock servant, performing household chores and other tasks.

She testified that her movements were restricted and her passport was confiscated by Jagota's mother and sister.

Before he issued his sentence, Judge Nelson said Jagota's family wanted an Indian wife for his son, a woman raised in India, not in the US.

"No Indian woman brought up in the United States would put up with the nonsense you put her through for three years," Judge Nelson told Jagota.

The 56-count indictment against the Jagotas marked the first time in New York that a 2007 labour trafficking statute, commonly understood to deal with illegal immigrants being forced to work in inhuman conditions, was used within the context of a household.

The Jagotas were convicted in February this year of labour trafficking and assault charges for using intimidation and physical violence to force the young woman into a life of "servitude and sexual abuse."