A 45-year-old Indian American doctor, who allegedly impregnated a 16-year-old girl who came to him seeking advice on becoming a physician, is currently on trial for producing child pornography.
According to a court transcript made public Nov. 15, Ashu Joshi, of the St. Louis University Hospital in Missouri, met the young teen – who is not being named as she is a minor – through her mother, who was a patient. He then hired the girl to babysit his children. But the two reportedly began a sexual relationship soon after.
Court records indicate the girl’s mother knew the two were dating but did not want them to engage in a sexual relationship. Police became aware of the liaison through hundreds of images and videos the two sent each other over Facebook Messenger; some of the images showed the girl nude, by herself and also with Joshi.
Charging documents say the case started with tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about photos suspected of containing child porn. Joshi is believed to have directed the girl to take sexually-explicit photos of herself to send to him.
Joshi appeared in court Oct. 11, and pleaded not guilty to the charge of producing child pornography. He was released on bail of $10,000 after spending more than a month in jail following his arrest. The physician has been suspended from his job.
In asking for his release from jail, Joshi’s attorney cited the doctor’s lack of a criminal record, his profession, his ties to the community, and his philanthropic work.
In his testimony, Sgt. Adam Kavanaugh of the St. Louis County Special Investigations Unit said the teen told police Joshi was the father of her unborn child and that he'd asked to marry her.
Kavanaugh added that he was aware of at least two alleged incidents in which the couple engaged in sexual intercourse at Joshi's home in St. Louis County, Missouri, as reported by the St. Louis Dispatch. The teen is from Kentucky; court records state that Joshi drove to Kentucky to pick up the girl, then drove back to his house to engage in sex.
The St. Louis Dispatch reports that the age of consent had recently been changed from 16 to 17 in the state in Kentucky. However, a 16- or 17-year-old is considered “incapable of consent” when the offender is 28 years of age or older.
In Missouri, the age of consent is 17; however, 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds cannot legally consent to sex with a person more than four years older.
Joshi is board-certified in internal medicine, according to the Missouri Board of Professional Registration, and went to Gandhi Medical College in India.