NewsIndiaTimes - page 6

– that’s all you need to know
By Bhargavi Kulkarni
New Jersey man was
sentenced last week to
46 years in prison for
sexual attacks on five
women over five weeks
in 2012. Hiten Patel of
Egg Harbor Township must serve
at least 38 years and three
months of a 46-year sentence
before he is eligible for parole
under the No Early Release Act.
On Feb. 12, an Atlantic County
jury convicted Patel, 36, of sexu-
ally assaulting five women, some
of themwhile impersonating an
undercover police officer and
using an imitation gun to threat-
en them. He was convicted of 22
of 34 counts, including multiple
counts of aggravated sexual
assault, attempted sexual assault,
possession of an imitation
firearm, impersonation of a law
enforcement officer, terroristic
threats and one count of
attempted robbery and criminal
restraint, a statement from the
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s
Office said.
Patel was arrested on Aug. 2,
2012, after Atlantic City Police
Detectives, along with assistance
from the Federal Bureau of
Investigations, linked him to at
least 10 sexual assaults in the
city. Patel was initially offered a
plea deal that would have
allowed him spend only 30 years
in prison, but he rejected it.
Addicted to Paid Sex
“I have not committed this
crime. I am not a criminal,” news
reports quoted Patel as saying
before the April 2 sentencing.
Three of Patel’s victims spoke at
the sentencing, admitting that
they were working as prostitutes
when they met him.
But what started as a friendly
date, turned violent when Patel
pulled a gun on the women, they
said. The gun, as it was revealed
later, was a toy he modified to
look real.
However, at his trial in
February, Patel testified that he
was addicted to sex with prosti-
tutes, nearly 200 of them, and
that he never attacked the
women. He said he had a toy gun
fashioned to look like a real gun
because he had previously been
the victim of robberies as he
trolled Atlantic City’s Pacific
Avenue to feed his addiction to
paid sex, news reports said.
During the two-week-long
trial, seven women testified that
Patel had attacked them, and
recounted being threatened and
sexually assaulted at gunpoint.
Several of the victims recalled
similar accounts of how Patel
threatened them and sexually
assaulted them at gunpoint, the
Press of Atlantic City reported.
Some testified that he also
choked them during the attacks,
while others said he would order
them to undress. Some escaped,
but others were forced to have
sex, while Patel held them by
their throats.
Easy Targets
Though not all of Patel’s vic-
tims were prostitutes, the state
argued that Patel chose prosti-
tutes because he believed they
were unlikely to go to the police.
During the trial, one of the
victims, an 18-year-old Delaware
girl, testified that Patel picked
her up under the pretense of giv-
ing her a ride to the bus station.
But when Patel locked the doors,
threatened her and pulled a gun
on her, the girl escaped by jump-
ing from the moving van, and
while fleeing, was picked up by a
New Jersey Transit bus.
According to, the bus
driver testified at trial that the
girl told her “someone tried to
rape her.” She was later taken to
hospital where she was reported-
ly treated for a serious wound to
her head and abrasions on sever-
al parts of her body from hitting
the pavement.
The last victim, a 21-year-old
Camden County woman, was
instructed to get in the van while
Patel impersonated an under-
cover detective by using his secu-
rity badge from his former job
with a Federal Aviation
Administration private contrac-
tor. He then threatened her with
the imitation gun and sexually
assaulted her in the back of the
At the time, Patel had already
been under investigation as a
suspect in a series of similar sex-
ual assaults.
Atlantic City police officers,
who observed the victim fleeing
the van, approached her and she
hysterically told them she had
been sexually assaulted by a man
with a gun.
Patel was pulled over in the
van shortly thereafter and arrest-
ed. DNA evidence linking Patel
to the victimwas subsequently
obtained by police,
“When Hiten Patel threatened
his victims with an all-too-real
looking handgun, he instilled
fear and took away their freedom
of action,” Assistant Prosecutor
John Flammer, said.
“Today’s sentence shows that
all of these women, no matter
what their life circumstances, are
entitled to the same basic rights
that all of us enjoy – the equal
protection of the law – whatever
their past, present or future they
are no less worthy of that protec-
tion than anyone else.”
Supportive Father
Despite being billed as a sex
offender and a serial rapist, Patel
seems to have received the sup-
port of his wife, Bhavana Patel,
who according to several news
reports was seen crying and beg-
ging for her husband to be
released at the April 2 sentenc-
During the February trial, a
dozen people, including
Bhavana Patel, Patel’s wife of 11
years, testified as character wit-
nesses, describing Patel as hon-
est, peaceful and law-abiding.
“He’s very peace-loving,”
Bhavana Patel said of her hus-
band. “He’s a very caring, sup-
portive, tender human being.”
During the April 2 sentencing,
Bhavana Patel told the judge her
husband was a supportive part-
ner to her and a wonderful father
to their children.
But SujataWarrier, co-founder
and long-time member of
Manavi, a New Jersey-based
women’s rights organization,
does not rule out the role of
“family pressure” in Bhavana
Patel’s reaction.
She may say he’s a good
father, etc.,Warrier says, but
notes that one does not know
her background or constraints.
“He was convicted of raping the
women and he’s being punished
for what he did,”Warrier told
Desi Talk.
“I am not at all surprised by
his trolling and paying for sex,”
she said, adding, “Men across the
board indulge in paid sex, it’s a
sense of entitlement. And look at
all the trafficking and other cases
around the country.”
Delayed Sentencing
Sentencing in Patel’s case was
delayed because of several rea-
sons including his mental evalu-
ation as well as his firing of his
first defense attorney because of
conflicts. Patel, who has been out
on bail since his arrest with
nothing more than a tracking
anklet, had that bail revoked
upon his conviction.
Patel’s case was also sur-
rounded by other obstacles,
including several quarantines at
the Atlantic County Justice
Facility in Mays Landing, where
he was housed since Feb. 12, reported.
‘Paid Sex’ Addict Hiten Patel Off to Prison
California’s 'Bombshell Bandit' Jailed for 66Months
FromNews Dispatches
California nurse convict-
ed of robbing banks in her
home state, Arizona and
Utah, was sentenced April 7 to
serve 66 months in federal
prison and will have to pay tens
of thousands of dollars in penal-
ties. Sandeep Kaur, 24, of Union
City, dubbed by the FBI as “The
Bombshell Bandit,” was arrested
in July last year, after a two-
month string of robberies in
which a well-dressed woman
approached bank tellers and
threatened to detonate a bomb
if they didn't hand over cash
from their registers.
Kaur escaped with $21,200
from her first robbery at a Bank
of theWest branch inValencia,
California, on June 6 – the most
success she had at any of the
four robberies she pleaded guilty
to, the St. George Spectrum
reported. In subsequent rob-
beries she grabbed $1,978 and
$8,000 at banks in Lake Havasu
City, Arizona, and San Diego,
California, respectively, before
her strike on a St. George, Utah,
bank led to her capture in July,
eight weeks after her crime spree
Presentencing investigators
established a recommended
range of 78 to 97 months, the
Spectrum report said. The court,
however, was not bound by the
sentencing guidelines, and the 5
1/2-year sentence issued by U.S.
District Judge Ted Stewart was
below the recommended
Defense attorney JayWinward
asked the court for an even
lighter sentence of four years in
prison, citing the challenges of
Kaur's upbringing and ways in
which she was "trapped" by her
Sikh culture as she grew up, by
family difficulties and by "bul-
lies" in her society. "She is edu-
cated, she has great worth to
society … and she does want to
make amends,” the Spectrum
quotedWinward as saying. He
further added that Kaur found
an escape after enjoying some
success with stock market
investments that allowed her to
break away from her past.
But she fell into a new set of
problems as the allure
of Las Vegas drew her into a
gambling addiction and other
excesses. Kaur fled Las Vegas
back to a boyfriend in what
Stewart later described as an
arranged marriage, but the
romantic arrangement led
to Kaur's physical and emotional
deterioration before she broke
free and returned
to Las Vegas,Winward said.
There, she found herself in a
"deeper and darker" predica-
ment, he added.
Kaur, who was sent to India,
but later returned to the U.S.,
graduated from high school at
the age of 15 and nursing school
at 19 and had no prior criminal
history before the robberies.
According to District Judge
Ted Stewart’s summary of events
and explanation of his reasoning
in issuing the sentence, Kaur
expressed concern her family
might be in danger as a result of
her gambling troubles. Kaur also
apparently reported that in the
wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, she and others were
mistaken for Arabs and suffered
some type of abusive retaliation.
However, her family painted a
completely different picture in
an interview a little while after
Kaur had been detained in a
high-speed chase. A family
member told India Abroad that
Kaur had recently been accepted
for a master’s in health care at
the California State University in
Long Beach. “There is someone
else behind all this,” the relative
told said. “We are waiting for the
curtain to open, for all the peo-
ple to come out, adding that this
was not her behavior and that
money was never an issue.
News India Times
April 17, 2015
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