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USA Indianapolis Woman Raped Repeatedly While Kept At Far Southside Apartment

Jan 7, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Indianapolis woman raped repeatedly while kept at Far Southside apartment

Indystar - Bill McCleery - Aug. 12, 2013 7:37 AM

Lakhvir Singh / Photo provided by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police

An Indianapolis man faces sentencing this week for the rape, battery and strangulation of a woman who lived at his Far Southside home for weeks during the summer of 2010 after her mother arranged to bring her to the United States from her home in Punjabi, India.

Lakhvir Singh, 28, threatened to kill the woman if she left his home, police said, and discouraged her from contact with the outside world after taking her as his supposed wife as part of an arranged marriage. The woman does not speak English.

No certificate of marriage was ever filed with the State of Indiana, according to a probable cause document filed with Marion Superior Court. A religious ceremony, however, occurred at a Sikh temple — the Guru Nanak Sikh Society Inc., located in the 1900 block of Hobart Lane, Indianapolis.

The woman endured horrific living conditions, wrote an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department detective who prepared the charging document. She was forced regularly to have sex with Singh against her will, he wrote, and was forced into involuntary servitude that involved nearly round-the-clock household labor.

Singh regularly beat the woman, the detective wrote, when she sought to avoid having sex with him and whenever he became upset with the quality of her household work at the apartment in the 2100 block of Windsor Parkway, which is south of Southport Road and east of Madison Avenue.

On Tuesday — in a case that appeared to escape media notice at the time of the trial — a jury found Singh guilty in Marion Superior Court of criminal deviate conduct, domestic battery, rape, sexual battery and strangulation.

Singh was found not guilty of another charge: promotion of human trafficking. The jury was apparently not convinced that the woman was brought to the United States against her will for the marriage.

The document does not make clear to what extent the woman initially resisted the arranged marriage to Singh — if at all — before the man began abusing her. The woman initially traveled to Indiana, she said, on the premise of visiting her brother.

Once she moved into Singh’s home, the woman “never felt like a wife but was made a servant” against her will, the detective wrote. She often worked from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m, police said, attending to members of Singh’s family such as an aunt, uncle and cousins who often stayed at the apartment. She prepared multiple meals per day, police said, and was required to clean all rooms of the home each day. She also did laundry for Singh and his relatives.

Singh required the woman to put his shoes on him each day before he left for work, police said, and remove them when he returned. He also required her to give him and other family members’ massages whenever they asked. Singh and his family members did not call the woman by her name, the document states, but rather referred to her as “kutt” — the Punjab word for “*****.”

Singh and the woman initially lived in New Castle after the woman arrived in May 2010 from India, according to the court document, but moved to the Indianapolis apartment several weeks later on July 10.

The woman was denied the privileges she provided others, police said – even having to beg for leftovers from meals she had prepared. She was ordered to use detergent for washing Singh’s and his relatives’ clothing but not to use it for her own, the document states. She was forced to sleep on the floor rather than on a bed or couch, she told police, and was not even given her own blanket.

Required to prepare warm milk for Singh each night, the document stated, the woman was not allowed to take any juice or milk for herself. Singh kept the apartment air-conditioned when he was there, police said, but forbade the woman from using air-conditioning when she was the only one at the apartment.

Singh allowed the woman to talk to relatives by phone, the document states, but tried to control what she told them. One of the first occasions of physical abuse, she told police, was when Singh slapped and choked her after catching her tell her mother on the phone about her living conditions.

It was a conversation with a relative, however, that finally allowed the woman to win her escape from Singh. Seeing a phone on a couch while Singh was in a restroom, the document states, the woman called her brother for help. Her brother called 911, the document states, and asked that police check his sister’s welfare at the apartment where Singh and the woman lived. Officers responded, and the woman’s brother met them at the scene.

Police at that point arranged for the woman to move to a secure location away from Singh, the document states, as they investigated her allegations.

The prosecutor’s office filed charges against Singh on Feb. 8, 2012, after a months-long investigation.

Singh’s sentencing is currently set for 2 p.m. Friday in Marion Superior Court.


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