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New York private detective sentenced for rape, framing

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York private detective was sentenced to 32 years in prison on Wednesday for raping his ex-girlfriend and then framing her for a series of fictional robberies in an elaborate conspiracy that fooled authorities and saw his victim wrongly jailed for seven months.

Jerry Ramrattan, 39, was found guilty in November of rape, conspiracy, witness tampering and falsely reporting incidents stemming from his efforts to frame Seemona Sumasar.

Prosecutors said Ramrattan attacked and raped Sumasar in March 2009 when, although they had broken up, he was living in her basement in New York City's Queens borough.

After he was arrested on rape charges a few days later, Ramrattan, using bribes and threats, convinced three people to pretend they had been pulled over while driving and held up at gunpoint by a man and a woman impersonating police officers, according to the Queens District Attorney's account.

The three people falsely identified Sumasar as the female police officer.

Ramrattan also planted a bullet at the scene of one of the fake robberies, hoping it would discredit her as a witness at his rape trial, prosecutors said.

Based on the three persons' sworn testimonies, grand juries in Queens and in Nassau County, Long Island, indicted Sumasar on charges of first-degree robbery.

Unable to afford bail, she spent more than seven months in jail, separated from her daughter and her restaurant business, which failed in her absence, her attorney said.

Weeks before her trial was due to start, an informant came forward with a tip that she was a victim of an elaborate plot, prosecutors said.

She then testified against Ramrattan at his four-week trial in state Supreme Court in Queens, where he was found guilty in November.

"Today's sentence provides a measure of justice for this victim, who survived a nightmarish rape only to be victimized again when she was arrested on robbery charges and sent to jail," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Ramrattan has maintained his innocence, claiming he did not rape Sumasar and saying he is the victim of an even larger conspiracy in which he has been framed in the charges of framing her.

Frank Kelly, Ramrattan's attorney, said he would file a notice of appeal.

Sumasar has filed a civil lawsuit against police in Nassau County, who were criticized by Justice Richard Buchter at Wednesday's sentencing, and against New York City for negligence leading to her wrongful imprisonment.

"This is extremely important to her," said Nick Brustin, her attorney in the civil case, "not only to once and for all make clear to the world what happened to her, but also to make sure it doesn't happen to someone else."

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Bohan)