Seven Long Years Later My First Contact Visits With My Sons

Editor’s note: Ajay Dev was in my view wrongly convicted in the summer of 2009.  One of the greatest injustices of all the injustices in this case is because he was convicted of a sex crime on a minor, he was unable to have contact visits with his two young sons.  But in a sign that the prison officials view Mr. Dev as a man who does not pose a threat to his sons, that has now changed.  Here is his story.

Seven Long Years Later My First Contact Visits With My Sons

by Ajay Dev

I have good news to share! After experiencing seven long heart-felt years without being allowed to hug my own children, I was finally granted contact visits with my two sons! I am extremely grateful for this appropriate correction to my undeserved situation, not only for myself but for my family as well. This represents a huge step towards fatherhood that I have always hoped for and dreamed of since my children were born. No more visits behind thick glass bars!

I could hardly sleep the night before my first contact visit. I was nervous, excited, and anxious. It was 2011 when we first appealed for such visits. But it was denied. Five years later, we re-appealed. Now the outcome has kept me wide awake. I was about to see and hug my sons for the first time since all this began more than seven years ago. I entered the visiting room that Sunday morning with a fresh new appreciation of life. Then, when I approached the table where my precious sons were sitting with their mom, I felt a warmth rushing through me. It was difficult holding my composure not wanting to show the people around me the emotions rising within. But there was no denying my heart for it was beating faster and faster with every step I took.

I approached my older son, Kishan (age 9), first. On my knees, I held his face in my hands, looked into his eyes and then hugged him. He gave me a big hug in return. I held him tightly and told him how much I miss him and love him. The last time I loved him this way was when he was just 15 months old. I kissed him good-bye while he slept peacefully. I was on my way out for my trial deliberation. Then, I turned to my little Jahnu (age 7), whom I had never yet held. He looked up at his daddy with his big brown eyes. I lifted him into my arms and held him for a long, long time. After 7 years of restrained fatherly love, my younger son was finally in my arms. Being able to love my sons this way is hard to describe with words. The female officer watching this scene later told me that she was expecting tears all over me. I put my hand on my chest to gesture that I am crying happy tears inside.

What a day it was with my boys. I showed them several card magic tricks that I learned. They were fascinated and giggled playfully. Then I showed them how one of the tricks was done. And to my surprise Kishan learned it very quickly and is now showing others how to do it. Jahnu amused me as I watched him create his own game and rules. What an imaginative mind. My younger son and I share the same birthday in the month of February. I just turned 50 and having contact visits with them was the best gift I received since being placed in prison.

That first contact visit will remain with me forever. Since then we have had several more wonderful visits together and I hope to see them on a bi-weekly basis. Of course, I am deeply grateful to Peggy who played an instrumental role in making this happen. Peggy strongly supports my contact visits with our children and would never request anything that might put them in harm’s way. Although Peggy lives more than a 2 hour-drive from the facility, she has been involved with the prison and invested her time in helping any way that she can. A heartfelt “thank you” to Peggy.

Today, I’m hopeful for the future because my sons have given me the strength and courage to continue on. To pursue my dream of being their father in ways that I couldn’t before. To interact and be a part of their playful ways. To love them as they deserve to be loved. My heart is restored with joy. The pain of my experience seems more bearable to me now. The lonely days are fewer, and by their presence my sons heal me.

It means so much for me to share this good news with you. You have stood by me and supported my cause while the world I lived in, over the past 7 years, were void of good news. Most recently was the California Court of Appeals’ decision to affirm my conviction. Yet, I stand firm in my innocence. As I bring my case to the next judicial level, the California Supreme Court, I hope you will continue to support and stand by me. Believe in me. In the meantime, please join in my overwhelming joy to finally receive contact visits with my sons. It has truly satisfied the father within me.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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11 thoughts on “Seven Long Years Later My First Contact Visits With My Sons”

  1. Patty Pursell

    It is so nice to see something go right for this innocent man.  It says a lot about Ajay when the prison allows him contact visits with his children when most people convicted of similar crimes are denied that right.  The people in the prison that see Ajay day in and day out realize that he does not belong there.

    Now we just need the justice system to really look at his case and not rubber-stamp this wrongful conviction.  It is very discouraging that so many people see the good man that Ajay is and yet, it doesn’t seem to matter how many people know the accuser was lying–he is still in prison.

  2. Tia Will

    Thank you for sharing this good news. For those of us who were not on the jury, and yet on the basis of the evidence presented through the media,  are convinced of AJ’s innocence, this is truly heartening to hear.

    1. David Greenwald

      No one may know for sure but I feel that the evidence in this case is weak at best and contradictory in key places.  I would also say having met him earlier this year, that he’s either innocent or an extremely skilled liar.  I would lean towards the former.

  3. Patty Pursell

    There are several people that do know the accuser was lying about specific rape claims.

    1.  She claimed to be raped while sleeping next to her cousins.  Both cousins claimed it did not happen.

    2.  She claimed to be raped when she slept over her aunt/uncle’s house, yet both claimed she never slept at their house.

    3.  She claimed to be raped while sleeping in the same bed as her adopted mother, yet her adopted mother claimed it never happened.

    4.  She claimed she never had sex with anyone but Ajay, yet her boyfriend testified that they had sex once a week.

    5.  She claimed she was raped when she slept at her godparents house, yet they said this could not have happened based on where people slept and the cramped residence.  Her godmother, herself, was a victim of sexual abuse as younger adult, and would never defend a rapist, yet she fully supports Ajay.

    I agree that in most rapes cases, no one really knows who is telling the truth.  But in this case, there were too many people that were first-hand witnesses to the lies the accuser told.

    1. Howard P

      Good info (assuming true)… if she is still in-country, she should be tried for perjury (assuming she said those things when sworn)… and if true/proven, sentenced to the max, to approach Dev’s time detained/imprisoned… and then be sued civilly, with automatic garnishment of income, to make him whole, financially… then deported, with prejudice, for the rest of her life…

    2. David Greenwald

      It’s important to note that the jury didn’t really believe her on this, but the confusing pretext call kind of overruled that judgment

  4. Claire Benoit

    I 100% agree with Keith O – most especially about the time served being sufficient for the worst case scenario of his alleged offense.

    that said I’m very happy for you Ajay that you got to see your sons and am praying the best for you and your family

  5. Patty Pursell

    The really frustrating part came when the appellate court ruled that the judge made a mistake in the trial when he did not explain to the jury that they could not find Ajay guilty based solely on the pretext call because the translation of what was said was not agreed upon (the accuser translated the call for the prosecution and inserted an admission that the defense’s translator explained was incorrect).

    What is incredible is that the appellate court said there was NO ADMISSION ON THE PRETEXT PHONE CALL so the jury probably did not base their guilty verdict just on the pretext call.

    We know from jurors that blogged after the trial, that they did base the guilty verdict solely on the pretext call.  They said her testimony was hard to swallow and that she was unbelievable.  They said that it was only the pretext phone call that put him where he was.

  6. Claire Benoit

    My gut intuition tells me they had an affair – which based on western values was definitely exploitative of the young lady – but based on the culture of her origins (as well as Ajay’s), not necessarily so.

    I think 7 years is plenty adequate for the unusual and complex case. Especially if the young lady is in a better place now. I’m guessing from the backstory; if she’s still in the US; she is probably content with the outcome of her struggle.

    have they allowed her to give input on whether she wants the man to remain locked up beyond the grave?

  7. bachha

    Claire, with all respect, it is assumption like yours that can put an innocent person behind bars for a long time. When you are dealing with someone’s life, you cannot go with your gut intuition. You have to go with exact science. Within your first paragraph, you show few biases. If you really study the case carefully, you will come with an understanding that the girl had huge motives to lie (was not allowed to show this in trial). Needless to say, that there was NO forensic or any other evidences other than a flawed translated pre-text phone call (which partially was translated and even words inserted at crucial areas by the girl herself)  that the jurors used to convict.

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