(Updade: US Supreme Court Judge Richard Butcher has prounounced 15 years jail term for the woman on September 9, 2016)
An Indian-origin woman in the US has been found guilty of brutally abusing and starving her 12-year-old step-daughter for more than a year-and-half and faces up to 25 years in prison.
Sheetal Ranot, 35, was found guilty of assault and endangering the welfare of a child for the brutal abuse of her stepdaughter Maya Ranot in 2014 when she was about 12 years old. In one instance, the child was hit with a broken metal broom handle that cut her wrist down to the bone and required hospitalization and surgery.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said a jury weighed the evidence, which included the “once undernourished” victim’s testimony in court, and found Ranot guilty of abusing the girl for more than a year-and-half. “The pre-teen was locked in her bedroom by her step-mother without food or even water for extended periods of time. The victim was struck with a metal broom handle and a wooden rolling pin until she was bloody and still carries these scars and others on her body to this day. No child deserves to be treated in this manner,” he said.
After a day of deliberations, a jury convicted Ranot of first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child yesterday. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter, who presided over the three-week-long trial, set sentencing for September. Ranot faces up to 25 years in prison.
Rajesh Ranot, the victim’s biological father, is also charged with second- and third-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child and will be tried at a later date.
According to trial testimony, Ranot repeatedly hit her stepdaughter, causing bruising and pain. She locked the girl inside her bedroom and refused to feed her for extended periods of time between December 2012 and May 2014. In one instance, Ranot kicked Maya in the face while wearing footwear, causing bruising, swelling and substantial pain on her eye and face. On a second occasion, she struck Maya in the face with a wooden rolling pin causing a laceration, swelling and pain to her left cheek that required the girl to be treated at a local Queens hospital. Doctors at that time observed the victim to be underweight and thin.
In another instance, Ranot hit Maya with a broken metal broom handle which caused a deep laceration and bleeding on the youngster s left wrist and right knee. When medical personnel arrived at the family residence, they found Maya lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen with the tendons to her left wrist cut to the bone. Doctors also observed several bruises, marks and scars in various stages of healing throughout Maya s body.