PhD scholar sentenced to five life imprisonments for child sexual assault

New Delhi: A special court in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur on Tuesday sentenced a PhD scholar to five life imprisonments, to be served concurrently, for sexually assaulting minors and posting videos of the acts on the Internet to make money, officials said.

Victor James Raja, a 35-year-old PhD scholar from Tamil Nadu, was sentenced on five counts of aggregative penetrative sexual assault on minor victims under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act along with a total fine of Rs 6,54,000 for various offences, they said.

The court has also directed him to pay Rs 4 lakh to each of his victims, they said. According to the officials, the verdict came nearly 14 months after the CBI filed a charge sheet against Raja. The charge sheet was filed in May last year after the CBI arrested him for sexually exploiting eight children aged between five and 18 years, and selling explicit videos of these acts on the Internet, they said.

“The acts of sexual exploitation included penetrative sexual assaults, digitally recording the sexual abuse, criminal intimidation of minor victims, forcing and instigating minor victim(s) to perform sexual activities with other minor victims and also with the accused,” an official said. In its charge sheet filed before a POCSO court in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur, the CBI had alleged that Raja was sexually abusing a child for the last four years.

“It was further alleged that the accused forced victims to perform penetrative sexual acts on them as well as on other minor children, including a minor victim girl; clicked photographs and recorded videos; forced them to watch sexual acts with other adult person; threatened them with publishing the pictures and video on social media and for bringing more minor girls,” a CBI spokesperson had said after the charge sheet. The CBI uncovered his sleazy crimes when it found Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) images and videos from Interpol’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database.

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