Thursday, April 15, 2021

Canton man pleads guilty to child sexual abuse charges

Shailesh Patel
The Canton Township man facing both federal and state charges of sexual abuse of minors entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court last week. He has previously entered a guilty plea in Wayne County Circuit Court to charges of sexual abuse of minors.

Shailesh Patel, 53, is accused of abusing children from the ages of 5 through 12, who were known to him, according to court pleadings, from the temple they all attended. Two female victims, now both in their 20s, described the abuse during interviews with agents of the FBI and local police during the investigation of the allegations.

Patel owned a Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins franchise and would drive children from the temple to the businesses to buy them treats.

One victim alleges that Patel abused her sexually on one of the trips while another recounted abuse during a dinner party at Patel's home. He is also accused of encouraging one victim to use his cell phone to record herself touching her genitals, according to investigators.  

One victim said the abuse continued with inappropriate sexual touching of her breasts and backside while at the temple.

Investigators discovered videos of a nude girl on Patel's computer while executing a search warrant at his home last October. One victim identified the girl as herself. 

“The sexual assault of children and the production of child pornography are heinous crimes and those who prey upon our children and commit these acts of violence will be vigorously prosecuted and brought to justice,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin in a statement.

Patel is scheduled to be sentenced on the federal charges July 9 and the state charges May 28. He is facing 15-35 years in prison for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, 9-15 years for second-degree criminal sexual conduct and probation for the fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.

“The women in this case were sexually assaulted for years by Shailesh Patel,” said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. “They were children when the abuse began, and they were courageous to come forward as adults to report this behavior to the authorities. For their sake we are pleased that we were able to reach a global resolution with our state case and the federal case.”