Harpeet Singh, 18, who lived on 55th Street at the time of the incident, was found guilty on June 4 of six counts of first-degree rape and a slew of other charges for being the mastermind behind the incident. A jury deliberated for only two hours before handing down the verdict.
According to the charges, Singh met a 16-year-old girl through the social networking site MySpace in early 2008. Over time, Singh gained the girl's trust, enticing her to send ever more racy photos of herself to him. Eventually, he convinced the girl to send him pictures of her nude.
Once he had them in his possession, Singh told the victim that if she didn't meet and have sex with him, he would post the photos on the Internet and send them to all of his friends. On June 24, 2008, the girl met Singh in Elmhurst at the 71st Street home of one of his friends.
Singh then took the girl into a room and sexually abused her and raped her. After that, Singh's co-defendants – Noman Gondal, 18, and Anjam Shahzad, 24, who both lived in the 71st Street home, Vikram Singh, 18, of Middle Village, and a juvenile offender – all took turns going into the room separately and raping the girl.
The other four individuals involved have all pled guilty to first-degree rape. A fifth indicted individual is presently being sought after failing to make a scheduled court appearance. He was identified as Arsalan Gondal, 22, also a resident of the 71st Street home where the crime occurred.
Following the incident, the victim was so distraught that she went home and tried to commit suicide by ingesting medicine and tying a cord around her neck. Eventually, her mother arrived and called 911.
The victim testified at Singh's trial and appeared at the sentencing.
“While the scars of what occurred may be with her for the rest of her days, she proved to be resilient, exhibiting grace and dignity as she confronted her attacker,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown in a statement released after the sentencing. “She is to be commended for her bravery in ensuring that the guilty did not escape justice.”