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Indian-origin teacher to go to jail for having sex with minor

July 24, 2012 15:55 IST

A 46-year-old Indian-American ex-headmistress of a Manhattan prep school, sentenced to two-to-seven years in prison for bedding one of her students in 2007, has surrendered after all her appeals exhausted.

Lina Sinha, a teacher in 1996 at the Montessori School that her parents owned and operated, had oral sex with a 13-year-old boy and was found guilty of the crime five years ago, but has evaded the sentence with a wide variety of appeals.

Yesterday, with all her appeals exhausted, her lawyer Jerry Shargel pleaded with Judge Carol Berkman to reconsider her sentence because the charges were "exaggerated."

"This is a woman of every advantage, and she preyed on her victim for years," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman observed on Monday, New York Daily News reported.

"She hijacked his life as a child," the judge said of the victim, who grew up to be a New York City cop and had compellingly taken the witness stand, describing years of trysts on class furniture and in a field trip van.

"She did try to destroy his life," the judge said. "So time has passed, but the victim has not regained the childhood the defendant has stolen for him, and I presume he never will."

Sinha had until Monday remained free on bail, pending appeal, for the five years since a Manhattan jury convicted her of a depraved predation that might never have been exposed.

"This case came at great personal embarrassment to him," assistant district attorney Robert Hettleman, chief of the Manhattan DA's child abuse unit, said of the victim.

The victim was a Queens-based, 24-year-old rookie in 2007, when he testified against Sinha, and remains a cop serving the public, Hettleman said.

Since the conviction, Sinha has been working for various charities, playing tennis and even running the New York City marathon, according to her website, Hettleman noted.

But life for the victim and a second boy studentĀ -- on whose rape counts the original jury hung -- have been far from fun and games, the prosecutors said.

However, Sinha spoke briefly, and tearfully, at the proceedings unapologetic of the crime.

"Most people thought I did a very good job," in education, she told the judge. "If you deem it fit for me to go to prison, then that is what I will do," she said. "I have gone through their life savings," she complained, referring to her family.

"I have gone through my life savings a long time ago."

Sinha tried to argue for a reduction in sentence. She suffers glaucoma and diabetes, and has fainting spells and anxiety problems, Shargel told the judge.

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