A Madison man was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for the 2017 sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl who became pregnant.
Prakash Biswa, 32, and his lawyers described the circumstances of the assault in starkly different terms than the victim, her mother and a Dane County prosecutor.
Though accepting the girl was 14 and legally unable to consent to sex, Biswa and his lawyers argued she willingly had sex with Biswa, had misrepresented her age to him as 21 and was inconsistent when recounting events to investigators. State Assistant Public Defender Tracey Lencioni, and later Biswa, said Biswa and the girl had communicated by text and Facebook and had been affectionate together before the assault on June 1, 2017.
She asked that Circuit Judge John Hyland sentence Biswa to probation.
But Assistant District Attorney William Brown, who asked for a 16-year prison sentence, said the girl told police that Biswa forcefully pulled her to a secluded area in the basement of the home where he lived, choked her at one point and slapped her.
“The victim has been consistent that she was raped,” Brown said. “What happened here was the brutal rape of a 14-year-old girl by a man in his 30s.”
Biswa, who was originally charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree sexual assault of a child. Under state law, the original first-degree charge, applied to a 14-year-old victim, requires proof of the use or threat of force or violence. Second-degree does not.
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The assault wasn’t reported until six months later, Brown said, when the girl wasn’t feeling well and went with her mother to a hospital, where tests found she was pregnant.
The girl’s mother, in a lengthy statement translated from Spanish, told Hyland of the wrenching decisions her 14-year-old daughter had to make, such as whether to raise or offer the child for adoption, and what to do about the things her school peers would say and think about her.
“She was 14 years old and she had to think about things she shouldn’t have to,” the girl’s mother said.
The girl, now 16, gave birth to the baby and is raising the child. Biswa’s parental rights have been terminated.
Assistant Public Defender Erin Nagy described Biswa’s early life with his Nepalese parents, living in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan, until the government revoked the Bhutan citizenship of Nepalis living there and expelled them. For the next 20 years, Nagy said, Biswa’s family lived in a refugee camp in Nepal, not citizens of that country, either.
Despite that disadvantage, Nagy said, Biswa studied hard, went to college and became a teacher. Ultimately, he and his family were resettled, winding up in Madison. Biswa has worked at helping other refugees resettle, in Madison and for two years in Sheboygan. But he is stateless, Nagy said, not yet having gained U.S. citizenship.
Aside from one drunken-driving infraction, his lawyers said, he’s not been in trouble, and he’s never acted violently toward anyone.
Hyland, citing the seriousness of the crime and the lasting impact it will have on the girl, said Biswa should be in prison until he’s 40, then spend the next five years on extended supervision.