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SLU doctor facing child porn charges

ST. LOUIS – A criminal complaint was filed in US District Court against a Sunset Hills man for production of child pornography.

Court documents allege Dr. Ashu Joshi, 47, directed a 16-year-old girl from Kentucky to take and send sexually explicit photos and videos of herself to Joshi.

The images were flagged by Facebook and then turned over to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Authorities in the St. Louis area were brought in to assist with the investigation.

Court documents indicate Joshi was in possession of hundreds of pornographic images of the teen on his phone. Some of the images appear to be of the teen and Joshi together.

Assistant US Attorney Tom Albus said Joshi met the girl through her parents when he was living and working in Kentucky. At present, Joshi works as a doctor at St. Louis University Hospital in the Department of Internal Medicine.

“It was determined that they were in a relationship," Albus said of Joshi and the minor. "There were these images that were produced by the young girl at the direction of Dr. Joshi and transmitted to Missouri.”

Joshi was questioned by local authorities Wednesday, October 10 at St. Louis University Hospital and taken into custody without incident. After Joshi was read his Miranda rights, he informed officers he had previously traveled to Kentucky, picked up the girl, and brought her back to St. Louis.

The girl told police in Kentucky she and Joshi had sex inside his Sunset Hills home.

“There’s also probable cause alleged in here to support an interstate transportation of a minor for illicit acts, so obviously those are additional serious charges,” Albus said.

Joshi may face additional charges in Kentucky and Missouri. For now, he faces one federal charge of production of child pornography. Police say he admitted to directing the girl to perform sexual acts on herself and send him videos or pictures.

“That’s a very serious charge and it carries a mandatory 15 years imprisonment on the minimum side," Albus said.

Joshi is in police custody until he goes before a judge on Tuesday, October 16. Authorities say there is no reason to believe there are other victims.

SSM Health, which runs SLU Hospital, issued the following statement:

We are shocked to learn of these allegations. SSM Health holds the health and safety of our patients as our top priority and we take matters like this very seriously. However, due to the ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further. SSM Health will continue to cooperate with the authorities and do everything we can to ensure our patients receive high quality, exceptional care.