New York: A 41-year-old Indian-origin man in the US has been sentenced to life in prison for enticing a minor to engage in sexual conduct and 30 years’ imprisonment for production of child pornography.
Deepak Deshpande of California, who pleaded guilty in October last year, was sentenced by US District Judge Carlos Mendoza on Thursday. According to court documents and evidence presented during the sentencing hearing, Deshpande contacted the minor in Orlando through an online chat application in July 2017.
At that time, Deshpande posed as a modelling agent and persuaded the minor to send him nude images of herself. In the months that followed, Deshpande contacted the same minor, posing as two other individuals, and threatened to disseminate her nude images if she did not continue producing additional child pornography for him.
In September 2017, Deshpande travelled to Orlando in Florida from California to meet the minor in person for the first time. He brought her to a local hotel and filmed himself sexually assaulting the victim multiple times. Between September 2017 and April 2018, he repeated the same conduct during four additional visits to Orlando.
In early May 2018, following an anonymous tip, the FBI began investigating Deshpande. An undercover FBI agent then began posing as the minor in communications with Deshpande. As a result of the undercover investigation, Deshpande returned to Orlando and was arrested upon his arrival at the Orlando International Airport.
Following his arrest, Deshpande plotted to kidnap and murder the minor victim in advance of his trial. He recruited a fellow inmate, whom he believed would soon be released, to serve as a middleman. Deshpande gave the inmate names and contact information for individuals who might be willing to carry out the abduction and murder and furnished personal details concerning the victim and her family, including her residence and schedule.
However, the FBI conducted an undercover investigation thwarting his efforts. “This case is particularly noteworthy in the level of planning conducted and depravity displayed by the perpetrator. “I would like to recognise the courage of the victim who helped make sure this predator cannot hurt others and also encourage our community to remain vigilant online and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division Eric Sporre said.