Indian American Man, Wife Cleared of Sex Felony Charges in Michigan
Anuj and Leslie Chopra were accused of luring their teenage daughter's friends to perform sex acts for money.
A sex felony case against an Indian-origin man and his wife, who is American, was dropped by a prosecutor on May 11 in western Michigan after exculpatory evidence was found. The couple, Anuj and Leslie Chopra, both 43-year-old residents of Hudsonville, were accused of trying to lure their teenage daughter’s friends for sex.
Their attorney, Damian Nunzio, told the Grand Rapids Press that the case fell apart after he obtained thousands of text messages exchanged between the alleged victim and witnesses saying they “were pressured into keeping with their false stories,” according to the Associated Press.
Nunzio accused the police of coaching and threatening witnesses to go along with the accusations against the Chopras.
“Clearly, after the cases went to court, the alleged victim and witnesses were pressured into keeping with their false stories so that they wouldn’t get in trouble,” Grand Rapids attorney Damian Nunzio said on May 14, according to Mlive.com.
While Anuj was charged with human trafficking for allegedly offering money to two teen boys if he could film them having sex, Leslie was accused of sending sexual messages and a selfie in lingerie over a social media app to teenagers. The teenagers were allegedly told by the police to “bait” Leslie Chopra. Anuj said he was joking about the offer.
Ottawa County Prosecutor Ronald Frantz said that “further investigation uncovered significant exculpatory evidence that resulted in a dismissal.”
The couple caught the police’s eye after being “falsely blamed for sending nude photographs” of a student at Hudsonville High School during summer 2016, according to Nunzio.
The police conducted a search of the Chopra’s home in October 2017 but did not find any evidence regarding the 2016 incident. The students were also warned to stay away from the family.
After the incident, three 17-year-old male students — one an alleged victim, the other two witnesses — became friends with Chopras’ daughter, who also went to the same school.
The alleged victim was a good friend of the “female student whose nude photographs were leaked in the summer of 2016,” Nunzio said. Once the school officials and police found out about the friendship of the three male students with the Chopras, they were brought in and questioned.
“One of the witnesses said that if he did not say bad things about the Chopras – he would get in trouble and go to jail,” Nunzio said. Another one allegedly said that the Chopras did nothing wrong.
“The witness said police told him what to say but admitted ‘none of that happened you guys have been so nice to us and I don’t know why they are trying to do this to you’,” the attorney wrote, in a statement.
“The alleged victim revealed that he was merely joking around with the Chopras and that he, too, was threatened with jail if he did not cooperate with police. The alleged victim said that he told authorities what they wanted to hear,” Nunzio said.