One of the longest sentences in Yolo County history belongs to former Davis resident Ajay Kumar Dev. Dev was sentenced on Aug. 7 to 378 years and four months in state prison at the Yolo County Superior Court.
Dev was found guilty of repeatedly molesting and raping his 15-year-old adopted daughter between January 1999 and December 2004. He was convicted of 76 felony counts, including 23 counts of forcible rape, 23 counts of sexual assault, 27 counts of lewd acts with a minor, and three counts of attempting to dissuade a witness.
Superior Court Judge Timothy L. Fall sentenced Dev to 8 years for each separate count of sexual assault and two years per attempt to dissuade a witness. He determined that certain factors in the case, such as Dev’s violation of a position of trust, outweighed the defendant’s lack of a prior record.
According to the victim’s testimony, Dev assaulted and raped her on a weekly basis. She said he eventually threatened to get a gun and shoot himself and her if she did not allow him to continue abusing her.
A search warrant that was served on the Dev home in Davis found child pornography on the computers, which according to a press release by the Yolo County District Attorney’s office confirms the victim’s story that Dev had shown her such pornography prior to some of the assaults.
Dev’s friends and family and members of the local Nepali community have voiced adamant opposition to Dev’s sentence, claiming that no physical evidence exists to prove he is guilty. Nearly 100 supporters gathered two weeks ago outside the Yolo County District Attorney’s office to protest Dev’s sentence.
“The evidence clearly demonstrates Ajay’s innocence, fortifies his character and supports our unwavering conviction and belief in his innocence,” friends and family said in a statement on Dev’s sentencing day.
The friends and family argue that the accuser is not credible since they say she had previously committed passport fraud. They cite several witnesses trained to recognize signs of trauma who saw no signs of abuse or even an unhealthy relationship between Dev and the accuser.
Family members also said they had never seen any signs of rape or abuse, despite that Dev allegedly violated his adopted daughter approximately 550 to 750 times over a five year period.
A recorded phone call between Dev and the accuser was used by the prosecution as a confession of Dev’s guilt, but friends and family say that his statements were taken out of context.
“Any misunderstanding is due to language and cultural issues which are often times lost in the translation process. Ajay was trying to explain to the accuser how our legal system works demonstrating that if a statement like this was made it could possibly ruin both her life and his. He was NOT admitting to rape,” the family said in a statement their website advocatesforajay.com.
Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Mount said that the jury heard the entire 20 minute phone call. The transcript of the conversation given to the jury was prepared by the defense and Dev’s own translator translated the sentence that ultimately proved Dev’s guilt.
Many of Dev’s supporters have since accused District Attorney Jeff Reisig of racism, saying there has been a significant rise in the number of minorities that have been arrested for sexual crimes in Yolo County.
Mount, however, stands by the jury’s verdict.
“The controversy in this case is only coming from Dev’s friends and family,” said Mount. “The jurors were all steadfast in their decision. They were well reasoned and actually gave Dev the benefit of the doubt in several cases. They acquitted him on some counts and were hung on others.”
SARAH HANSEL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.