ashu joshi

An Indian American doctor, Ashu Joshi, who concocted a sham marriage to a Kentucky teenager to dodge federal child pornography charges, was sentenced Oct. 7 to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution to his victim. (St. Louis Police Department photo)

An Indian American doctor in St. Louis, Missouri, received an eight-year prison sentence on child pornography charges he pleaded guilty to last month.

The St. Louis Dispatch reports that Dr. Ashu Joshi, who concocted a sham marriage to a Kentucky teen to dodge federal child pornography charges, was sentenced Oct. 7 to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution to his victim.

Joshi pleaded guilty last month to a single charge of distribution of child porn and admitted having sex with a 16-year-old and sending pornography via Facebook, according to the report.

Joshi practiced in Kentucky before coming to the St. Louis area.

Joshi and his former lawyers had claimed that he had married the teen in a private religious ceremony in June 2018, when she was 16, the report notes.

A lawyer for Joshi even had a Kentucky judge formalize the marriage last year. Lawyers then raised a constitutional challenge to the prosecution of Joshi, saying the pornographic images were photos of his wife and saying investigators had invaded the couple’s privacy, the publication added.

The teenager’s lawyer, Tory Bernsen, said last month that she had been manipulated into going along with Joshi’s sham. Joshi’s victim, Madison Dole, is now 18 and she and Bernsen agreed to the use of her name in a December 2019 interview with the Post-Dispatch about the marriage.

Joshi and Dole have a son who was born in April 2019, the report said.

Prosecutors and investigators have long argued that the marriage was a sham.

Joshi’s attorneys argued he couldn’t be prosecuted for the pornographic images because they were photos of his wife. Dole said in December 2019 that she wanted charges against Joshi dropped.

Joshi, 48, who lives in Sunset Hills, was charged in 2018 after police received a tip from Facebook about photos that were being exchanged.

He was working at St. Louis University Hospital at the time. His medical license has been suspended, according to the report.

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