St. Louis Doctor Pleads Guilty to Crimes Against a Child, Who Happens to be His Wife

ST. LOUIS, MO – United States District Judge John A. Ross accepted a plea, today, from 48-year-old Ashu Joshi. Joshi, a St. Louis resident, pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography.

Ashu Joshi, 48-Years Old

According to a plea agreement, Joshi was 46 years old and a doctor when he began a relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Joshi met the girl through her mother. The mother was a former patient of the doctor’s in Kentucky. The doctor and victim had sex and took pornographic pictures. Both exchanged photos over Facebook messenger. Joshi married the 16-year-old girl after she became pregnant.

Lawyers for a Missouri doctor who impregnated and married the 16-year-old Kentucky girl, say the doctor’s marriage to the girl is valid and a legitimate defense to child pornography charges.

In October 2018, a St. Louis County Police Officer received four cyber-tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tips were first to the Bowling Green, KY Police Department. The BGPD then asked St. Louis County Police for help after investigators learned one of the parties lived in St. Louis County.

The tip told investigators, between August and September 2018, a Facebook account linked to the doctor uploaded and sent several pictures containing child pornography.

The charge of distribution of child pornography carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of no more than $250,000.

Dr. Ashu Joshi’s attorneys had contended, in recent court filings, that enforcement of child pornography laws without a marriage exception is unconstitutional, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Judge Ross has set sentencing for October 7, 2020.   

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, St. Louis County Police Department, and the Regional Computer Crimes Education and Enforcement Group investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Colleen Lang and Investigator Donya Jackson are handling the case for the United States Attorney’s Office.

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