SLU Hospital Doctor Charged

Child pornography indictment from 2018 comes to a close.

In the fall of 2018, Dr. Ashu Joshi’s normal practices at SLU Hospital were brought to an abrupt halt when he was indicted on charges of child pornography. It was uncovered that Joshi, then 46, had begun a sexual relationship with the daughter of a patient. An investigation found that the two had initially made contact while Joshi was still practicing in Kentucky, under the pretense that the girl wanted to learn about the medical industry. Their exchanges began on Facebook Messenger, and soon they began regularly exchanging images and messages. 

Shortly after the patient’s daughter began babysitting Joshi’s child, the relationship between her and Joshi evolved into a sexual relationship. However, Joshi moved from Kentucky to St. Louis to practice at SLU Hospital. In the summer of 2018, Joshi travelled back to Kentucky and drove the girl back to St. Louis in order to maintain a sexual relationship and instructed the girl to produce and exchange pornographic pictures and videos. Facebook notified the authorities of over three hundred files that were sent to Joshi, several of which contained pornographic images. SLU was alerted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Joshi was suspended.

According to, a “tip told investigators that between August and September 2018, a Facebook account linked to the doctor uploaded and sent several pictures containing child pornography.Because of this, his charge included the speculation of distribution of child pornography.

After the initial indictment, the two fled to Kentucky and got married. Further complicating the matter, she gave birth to a baby boy in April of 2019. Prosecutors have raised disputes over the legality of the marriage. Now that the two are married, some may argue that Facebook was wrong to monitor the private conversations of a married couple. However, the fact that the two are now married does not dampen the child pornography charge, which does not have a marriage exception or clause for underage married couples.

Recently, Joshi pled guilty in court to the charges brought against him and signed a plea deal. Joshi could face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $250,000. Joshi’s sentencing has been set for Oct. 7. His wife has since given a defense of Joshi and pleaded for a lighter sentencing so that he may have a relationship with their son.

The seemingly amicable relationship between the girl and Joshi created a difficulty for the prosecution, because the girl never claimed that Joshi had victimized or taken advantage of heri. The girl’s mother has admitted that she was aware that the two were dating, but had expressed to her daughter that she did not want them to begin a sexual relationship. The girl has remained supportive of Joshi through the course of the trial, and she has not admitted to feeling used despite evidence of some manipulation.

Though technically employed by a SLU institution, the only relation between Joshi and the university was the namesake of the hospital, and the hospital has denounced his actions.