OZONE PARK (WABC) --An Ozone Park, Queens couple is accused of severely abusing their 12-year-old daughter over a two-year span.
The father and step-mother, Rajesh Ranot, 46, and his wife, Sheetal Ranot, 31, face multiple counts of assault and child endangerment for allegedly starving and beating their daughter between December 2012 and July 2014.
In one instance, the child was allegedly hit with a broken metal broom handle that cut her wrist down to the bone and required hospitalization and surgery.
District Attorney Brown said, "The criminal charges allege that this young victim was subjected to years of unspeakable physical abuse at the hands of her father and stepmother - including being locked in her bedroom by her stepmother without food or water for extended periods of time and forced to take cold showers while her father hit her about her body with his hands and even a baseball bat. Despite the bruising and scarring on her body which served as a silent testament to the violence and cruelty she purportedly endured, it is alleged that for a long time this emaciated child was fearful of disclosing the true nature of her injuries or those responsible for her suffering for fear that her younger step-siblings would be taken away by authorities and placed in foster care. Fortunately, she found the courage to speak up."
District Attorney Brown continued, "I want to thank the law enforcement and social service personnel involved in this case. Without their intervention, it is not too hard to imagine that this case would have ended in the child's death."
District Attorney Brown said that, according the criminal charges, Sheetal Ranot repeatedly hit her stepdaughter, Maya Ranot, about her body and face, causing bruising and pain, and locked her inside her bedroom and refused to feed her for extended periods of time between December 1, 2012, and May 6, 2014. In one instance, it is alleged that on December 21, 2012, Sheetal Ranot kicked Maya in the face while wearing footwear, causing bruising, swelling and substantial pain about her eye and face. On a second occasion, May 6, 2013, Sheetal Ranot allegedly hit Maya with a broken metal broom handle about her body, causing a deep laceration and bleeding about her left wrist and right knee. When medical personnel arrived at the family residence, they found Maya lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen with the tendons to her left wrist cut to the bone. Maya was transported to Elmhurst Hospital where she underwent surgery for her wrist and received stitches to her knee. At the time, doctors allegedly observed several bruises, marks and scars in various stages of healing throughout Maya's body. In a third instance, Sheetal Ranot allegedly hit Maya in the face with a wooden rolling pin on April 16, 2014, causing a laceration, swelling and pain to her left cheek and requiring removal to a local Queens hospital for medical attention. At the time, doctors allegedly observed her to be underweight and thin, weighing 58 pounds, and wearing dirty clothes.
It is additionally alleged, according to the criminal complaints, that Rajesh Ranot repeatedly beat Maya about her body with his hands, his feet, a belt and a baseball bat between December 1, 2012, and May 6, 2014, causing bruising, swelling and pain about her body. During this same time period, it is alleged that he too would lock her inside her bedroom without food or water for extended periods of time and that he forced her to take cold showers while he struck her about her body with his hands and various objects. On March 31, 2014, he allegedly hit her with a baseball bat, causing bruising, swelling and pain about her head and face.
It is further alleged that between April 16, 2014, and May 6, 2014, Ranot continued to hit his daughter with a baseball bat about her head and legs, causing bruising and pain about her ears, head and legs. On May 6, 2014, Maya was taken to Elmhurst Hospital's emergency department where doctors observed various bruises, marks and scars in different stages of healing throughout her body, including bruises on her right scapular area, right ear and legs.
Commissioner Carrin, whose agency filed an abuse petition against the father and step mother in Family Court as a result of an investigation, said, "I am deeply grateful to the Child Protective Specialists and Investigative Consultants whose diligence and professionalism saved the life of this young girl and ensured that she and her siblings were removed from this home and are now safe from further abuse. This horrific case highlights the necessity of, and reinforces our commitment to, collaborating with our partner city agencies, provider agencies and community organizations to ensure that New York City children remain safe."
Sheetal Ranot, who is the child's stepmother, was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Deborah Steven Modica on July 29, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging her with second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Ranot was rearrested and arraigned on August 1, 2014, before Queens Criminal Court Judge David Hawkins on a criminal complaint charging her with first- and second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Bail was set at $10,000 and $50,000, respectively, and Ranot was ordered to return to court on August 13, 2014, in both cases. Ranot, who is presently being held in jail in lieu of a total of $60,000 in bail, faces up to seven years in prison in the first case and up to 25 years in prison in the second case if convicted.
Rajesh Ranot, who is the child's biological father, was arraigned on August 1, 2014, before Queens Criminal Court Judge Michelle Armstrong on a criminal complaint charging him with second- and third-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a child. Ranot, who faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, remains in jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. His next court date is also August 13, 2014.
(Information from the Queens District Attorney's Office)