July 25, 2013 10:04:17 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
A professor at Mississippi State University has been charged and indicted with sexual battery.
Yoginder Dandass, 45, of 701 Sherwood Road in Starkville was indicted by the grand jury in Oktibbeha County for one count of sexual battery earlier this month. He was arrested Monday by the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department.
According to a press release issued by the Starkville Police Department, Dandass is charged with one count of sexual battery stemming from an incident involving his adopted daughter. Dandass and his wife adopted the child from Russia in 2005. Law enforcement officials believe the abuse began shortly after the girl's adoption and continued until the summer of 2012. The abuse was first reported in October 2012.
The girl was removed from the home and is currently living out of state.
Dandass and his wife have two other children, a boy and a girl. Authorities said there is no sign of sexual abuse of those children.
Sid Salter, Director of University Relations for MSU, said Dandass is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. Salter added that Dandass' access to online documents has been suspended.
Dandass first joined the MSU faculty as a research associate in 1997. He has held the rank of assistant professor of computer science since 2003.
Dandass' attorney, Matt Wilson of Starkville, declined to elaborate on his client's case Wednesday, saying only, "My client denies the charges categorically."
He appeared before Circuit Court Judge Lee Coleman and was released on a $50,000 bond.
Sexual battery is defined by Section 97-3-95 of the Mississippi code as "sexual penetration with a child of 14 but less than 18 years if the person is in a position of trust or authority over the child."
Dandass will appear in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court before Coleman on October 13.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah