Former Indian-American policeman jailed for rape

Washington, June 9 (IANS) A court in the US state of Massachusetts has sentenced a former Indian-origin police officer convicted on rape charges to seven years in jail, media reported.

Rajat Sharda, 34, the first Indian-origin police officer in the city of Worchester in the state of Massachusetts, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in August 2013, open and gross lewdness, witness intimidation and larceny while on duty, reported The Telegram daily on Monday.

After seven years of imprisonment, Sharda will be on probation for 10 years.

The former officer’s victim, a 29-year-old Connecticut woman testified in court that on August 6, 2013, night she was inside a parked sports utility vehicle (SUV), undressed, with her boyfriend, when officer Sharda approached the vehicle and asked her to step outside.

He then sexually assaulted and threatened the woman before leaving, she stated.

“I don’t agree with the decision. I don’t agree with the verdict. My client is innocent,” said defence lawyer Peter L. Ettenberg, asking the judge to spare his client a jail or prison sentence and place him on straight probation.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan P. Donahue recommended that Sharda should be sentenced up to 15 years behind bars with probation to follow.

Donahue said the former officer was in a position of power when he took advantage of a “vulnerable” victim and violated public trust in the process.

Sharda was removed from police service in September 2014

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