By Patty Pursell
(Editor’s note: This was the speech delivered by Patty Pursell in accepting the Vanguard Justice Award for her work on behalf of Ajay Dev)
I cannot thank David Greenwald enough for starting the Judicial Watch and for bringing to the forefront some of the problems that need addressing in our current legal system.
I represent over 1,000 Advocates for Ajay who believe that Ajay Dev was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 378 years for molesting and raping his adopted daughter. People ask us, how can you be certain Ajay is innocent?
The crimes of rape usually have no witnesses, they typically are just he said, she said cases. Ajay’s case is different because there are many people with first-hand knowledge.
His accuser claims to have been raped approximately 750x over the course of 5 years. She claimed some of these rapes happened while other people were present.
- His accuser claimed that Ajay raped her while Peggy, her adopted mother slept in the same bed. Peggy testified that it never happened.
- His accuser claimed to have been raped while sleeping over at her aunt and uncle’s house. Both testified that she never ever slept at their house.
- His accuser claimed to have been raped while sleeping in the living room with her cousins. Both cousins verified that there is no way this could have happened since they slept shoulder to shoulder with her.
Mention here how some people may not believe the family, but that the list goes on and on.
- His accuser claimed she was raped while staying at family friends’ homes. These friends testified that it could not have happened based on how small the house was, the fact that all the bedroom doors were open, and that one adult was awake all night with medical issues.
- His accuser testified she only had sexual relations with Ajay, yet, her boyfriend testified they had sexual relations at least once a week.
- His accuser testified that Ajay never used contraceptives and that he raped her 750x, yet her only pregnancies happened in a very narrow time frame and coincided perfectly with the time she had sexual relations with her boyfriend.
- His accuser claimed she didn’t bring young men to the house when her parents were working, yet the neighbors testified that she did and would close the curtains when they were there.
- His accuser claimed naked pictures were taken of her and put on Ajay’s computer, yet none were ever found anywhere
His accuser claims she was raped approximately 750x — 3x per week for 5 years, yet no one saw any signs of emotional or physical trauma.
- Her medical doctor who did 9 exams saw no signs of trauma,
- Her social worker who did a full psychoanalysis saw no signs of trauma
- Her teachers so no signs
- Friends and family saw no signs
How can that be? A person who is raped 750x would surely show some signs of trauma. Keep in mind her doctor, social worker and teachers are mandated reporters and never reported anything.
During those 5 years there were hundreds of private emails and texts between Ajay and his accuser and there was no incriminating evidence in any of them. How can an abusive sexual relationship have gone on for 5 years and nothing shows up in any private communications? His accuser also had her own cell phone, email, and used social media. She had access to talk with whomever she wanted, yet no incriminating evidence showed up anywhere.
Now you might be wondering why would someone make up a story like this? Why these accusations? She came to the US from Nepal with Ajay and Peggy for a better education and job opportunities. Things didn’t go as planned. She failed classes, lost her job, hooked up with the wrong crowd and problems grew bigger and bigger. Her relationship with Peggy and Ajay deteriorated, and she was afraid that they were going to send her permanently back to Nepal. These accusations were her way of stopping that. Later when she visited Nepal for her sister’s wedding, she was found guilty of passport fraud and falsifying her birth certificate. She could not come back to the U.S. Ajay’s case then became her ticket back into the U.S.
At this point you are probably wondering why Ajay was convicted and sentenced to 378 years? Good question. The investigating detective never talked to any family members, friends, teachers, doctor or anyone that knew Ajay and his accuser. He just accepted her word—even when she contradicted herself. Jurors even claimed in a blog after the trial that his accuser’s testimony, “was difficult to swallow.”
The detective did try to entrap Ajay and get him to confess by having his accuser make a pretext phone call. Throughout the 50-minute phone call Ajay directly denied the allegations 27 times. Because Ajay and his accuser are fluent in both Nepali and English the conversation was in both languages. In English, the conversation is clear and easy to understand, but the Nepali translation is very confusing. Unfortunately, the court never provided the jury with a certified transcript done by a court certified translator. Instead, the court allowed his accuser to be the translator for the Nepali portion and instructed the jury to rely on her translation for that part of the transcript.
During an inaudible portion of the tape in which Nepali was spoken, his accuser conveniently inserted a clear admission of sex by Ajay. The defense did have a translator testify. The expert stated the inserted admission of Ajay’s guilt done by his accuser was not possible because he could hear the first letter of the word; which was clearly “a hard K sound”. No word in Nepali that means sex begins with that sound. Unfortunately, this testimony came 7 weeks after the transcript was read to the jury.
Tonight is about prosecutorial misconduct, something Ajay also experienced. During closing arguments, the prosecutor, Steve Mount, told the jury that he saw Ajay pass a note to his lawyer during the preliminary hearing in which Ajay admitted his guilt. This was strongly objected to by the defense, but was overruled by Judge Fall. Of course, there was no note with an admission of guilt, but the jury heard Steve Mount tell them there was. It was terrifying to watch a paid servant of the people blatantly lie to the jury about a made up admission of guilt in a letter that didn’t exist. This misconduct is captured in the court transcripts, and is discussed fully in Ajay’s appellate brief—claim #8. You can read the entire appellate brief on www.seekingjusticefortheinnocent.com .
Steve Mount spent the majority of his closing arguments dissecting the pretext phone call. Throughout his closing arguments Steve Mount spoke in the first person as if he was Ajay Dev, and Ajay did not testify. While speaking as Ajay, Mount injected made up thoughts and motives into the conversation. He even inserted admissions and words of guilt into the call that did not exist.
Until Ajay’s case, we believed the justice system was about seeking the truth of the matter. Unfortunately, we have come to realize that there are a few people in the legal system that care more about winning cases than the truth. Our hope is that the work done by the people in this room and organizations like David Greenwald’s Judicial Watch will stop the attitude that has caused wrongful conviction.
If you want to learn more, please go to www.seekingjusticefortheinnocent.com where we have put the appellate brief and response brief on line. Or go to www.advocatesforajay.com to get some background information. David Greenwald has done many articles about Ajay’s case and how he came to realize that Ajay Dev is innocent.
Ajay’s case is in the hands of the appellate court now. Ajay has been in jail for 5 years awaiting the appeal process. In all that times he has been denied the opportunity to hug his two young sons, ages 4 and 6. In fact, he has never been able touch his youngest son since he was born months after Ajay was convicted.
Advocates for Ajay have marched many times, demonstrated, petitioned, written hundreds of letters and given interviews on radio, tv and in newspapers on his behalf. We would welcome any support or suggestions you can give to get this innocent man back home to his family.
Thank you David for the recognition in honoring us tonight, and I thank you, the audience for your patience and allowing us to tell our story.
See also the press release by Advocates for Ajay: here
Video of David Greenwald’s award presentation
Patty Pursell’s speech