Indian American man from Michigan and his wife accused of sex crimes, to stand trial

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Anuj Chopra and his wife Leslie Chopra, both 42, have been ordered to stand trial on allegations they tried to entice their daughter’s teen friends for sex.

According to an Associated Press report, Anuj Chopra is charged with human trafficking after a witness testimony alleged he offered to pay two 16-year-old boys $1,000 in December 2016 if he could film them having sex with each other. Leslie Chopra is accused of sending sexual messages and a selfie in lingerie to one of the boys over Snapchat and is charged with distributing sexually explicit materials to minors and using a computer to commit a crime.

The Ottawa County, Michigan, Sheriff’s Office liaison at Hudsonville High School, Deputy Mike Petroelje, said that the teen who was sent the snaps had used his mother’s phone to take pictures of photos Leslie sent before they were deleted, AP reported.

Assistant Ottawa County Prosecutor Jennifer Kuiper-Weise added that the snaps included sex acts which she allegedly wanted to perform with the boy.

However, the Chopra’s Defense Attorney Damian Nunzio argued that the charges should be dismissed as the prosecutors did not show that the snaps would be harmful to a minor. Nunzio demanded the police gather more evidence.

Nunzio argued that Anuj Chopra’s proposition was not meant to be taken seriously and that “it was just banter, it was just joking, it is not human trafficking under the statute. This is not a 20-year felony.” However, Petroelje countered that none of the boys he interviewed felt that the proposition was a joke.

Petroelje also noted that he did not discover the allegations until recently, after the Chopras were suspects in the circulation of nude photographs of a girl at the high school nine months ago. He began to interview the teen whom Leslie Chopra sent snaps to after the mother of the girl whose nude photos were distributed, alerted the deputy to potentially concerning behavior between the Chopras and the boy.

Nunzio said parents were already suspicious of the couple because of the photo investigation.

“This was nothing more than mob mentality at Hudsonville High School,” Nunzio is quoted saying in the AP report, which also noted that the Chopras have not been charged in the female student’s photos and are scheduled to appear in court July 3, 2018.

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