Indian-American treats wife as slave; gets away with probation

May 24th, 2012 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, May 24 (IANS) An Indian American man whose family forced his wife into slave labour was spared jail but sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to perform 220 hours of community service. His mother and sister each face up to seven years in prison.

Vishal Jagota, 34, of New York suburb Ramapo was also fined $1,000 by Rockland County Court Judge William K. Nelson, Newsday reported.

Prosecutors alleged that Jagota’s wife, whom authorities never publicly named, was brought to the US from India in January 2008 through an arranged marriage at 20 and suffered in a life of servitude and sexual abuse.

The abuse went on until the Jagotas were arrested in October 2010.

Jagota, his mother and sister were indicted in March 2011 on charges of labour trafficking and endangering the welfare of a child in addition to assault charges.

However, in a non-jury trial, Nelson convicted Jagota in February, only on a misdemeanour assault charge. The conviction carried a maximum sentence of a year in jail.

His 58-year-old mother Parveen Jagota, and 31-year-old sister Rajani Jagota were convicted of labour trafficking and second-degree assault, both felonies.

They each face up to seven years in prison when they are sentenced next month.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said he was disappointed by the sentence Vishal Jagota received.

“Plain and simple, he and his family imprisoned this young victim for three years,” he said in a statement.

Prosecutors alleged that the Jagota family used intimidation, and physical and sexual abuse to force the victim, now 25 years old, to work round-the-clock in their home.

On one occasion, Jagota’s mother and sister burned the victim’s hand with a hot iron because they didn’t like the way she had done the laundry, they said.

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