Supreme Court refuses to hear case of former MSU professor convicted of sexual battery

Yoginder Dandass

The state’s highest court on Thursday unanimously refused to review the case of a former Mississippi State University professor convicted of molesting his adopted daughter.

The Starkville Daily News previously reported Yoginder Dandass was arrested in 2013 on accusations that he had sexually abused his adopted Russian daughter for several years.

In 2015, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a jury in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court found him guilty of sexual battery of a minor. He was also required to register as a sex offender.

The state Court of Appeals initially denied a request for review from Dandass, opting to ask the state Supreme Court to take up the case. The court refused to hear the case on a vote of 8-0.

Dandass’ sentence is short of the 30-year maximum for sexual battery of a minor. The sentence, issued by Circuit Judge Lee Coleman, also included five years of post-release supervision and a $3,000 fine.

Court documents obtained by the Starkville Daily News say Dandass appealed his case on five different assignments of error, including: the state was allowed to bolster the victim’s testimony with hearsay; The state’s closing argument infringed on Dandass’ right to a fair trial; The trial court erred in admitting the state’s improper rebuttal evidence, and denying Dandass’ rebuttal evidence; The verdict was against the overwhelming weight of the evidence; The trial court erred by excluding expert testimony and evidence that would support Dandass’ case.

Finding no error, the state Court of Appeals chose to affirm the initial conviction and sentence.

Dandass was previously employed as a professor in the MSU Department of Computer Science and Engineering.