BANGOR, Maine — The Eastern Maine Medical Center physician accused by his estranged wife of threatening to throw his infant daughter out of a second-story window came to court Tuesday ready to dispute her claims.
Dr. Gurpreet Singh, 30, of Bangor had photos of himself cradling his daughter the day she was born, letters describing how excited he was when he learned his child would be a girl and testimonials to his skills as a physician as well as his calm and peaceful demeanor. The items were all assembled in a notebook.
He did not have to present them to a judge because the Penobscot County district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against him and his father due to the unavailability of Singh’s wife, Neha Arora Singh, said Margaret Gray, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County.
Dr. Singh and his father, Harbhajan Singh, 65, both of Bangor, pleaded not guilty in August to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence assault and criminal threatening.
Both men are natives of India.
They were not required to appear in court Tuesday but came to the Penobscot Judicial Center to prepare to go to trial and to consult with their attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor. Through Silverstein, Singh asked to talk about the case with the court reporter for the Bangor Daily News. He also showed the reporter the photos and letters in the notebook.
In an email to the Bangor Daily News on Tuesday afternoon, Neha Arora Singh said she now lives outside the United States and did not return for a possible trial because she fears for her own safety and that of her child.
Gray said that the county could not afford to pay for the woman to return to Maine and Neha Aurora Singh could not afford to do so either.
“I felt the safety issue was much more important than getting justice and I chose safety because I couldn’t risk my child’s life,” Neha Aurora Singh said.
There is no protection from abuse order in place against either man, Silverstein said.
Neha Aurora Singh said that is because she never applied for one because she knew she was leaving the United States “on an urgent basis.”
Dr. Singh said Tuesday he felt that his daughter, now 3 months old, had been “kidnapped.” He said he did not sign an application for a passport for his daughter and did not give permission for her to leave the country.
Neha Aurora Singh said that her attorney in New Zealand had told her that she could not abduct her own child. She also said that she is a citizen of New Zealand and her daughter has been granted citizenship there. The baby has a New Zealand passport.
“In order to get [a New Zealand] passport, the form doesn’t require [a] father’s signature,” she said in the email.
The Singh men were arrested July 20 after Bangor police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at a residence off Stillwater Avenue, according to a previous report.
When Bangor police Officer Brian Smith arrived, a very upset and frantic woman told the officer that her husband and father-in-law threatened to throw her daughter out of their home’s second-story window, according to officials.
The 27-year-old woman was holding her baby when Smith arrived and gave it to the officer as she tried to explain what had happened. The woman told Smith that both men were arguing with her about the baby’s sex. The younger Singh had been very upset with her since the day he found out he was not going to have a son, she told the officer.
During the argument, according to the mother, both men tried to grab the infant girl from her arms and threatened to throw her out of the second-story window.
Dr. Singh, who began working at EMMC on July 22, denied that the events described by his wife ever happened. He said Tuesday that she threatened “to devastate” her husband, began crying loudly and ran out of the house and made a phone call. He thought she was talking to her parents, not the police.
The physician said that his family values and supports women. His sister, who is six years his elder, teaches math at a university in Houston. He also pointed out letters in the notebook from his former colleagues that stated he was delighted to learn he and his wife were having a girl.
He also said he told his wife before the sex of their baby was determined that he wanted a girl, when she insisted that he choose which gender he would prefer.
“I told her that in my three years of residency [at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa.] I’ve alway seen daughters bring their elderly parents to the hospital,” Dr. Singh said Tuesday. “And it’s just my observation, I don’t back it up with any clinical data or study or any big data or something like that.”
His wife said in her email that her husband “had two faces — one in front of the public and [the] other, cruel behavior towards my child.”
“If Gurpreet Singh genuinely believes that he loves his daughter, which I am totally positive about that he doesn’t, he can fight the custody issue here in NZ,” Neha Aurora Singh said in the email.
Dr. Singh said Tuesday that the publicity surrounding the case has been devastating. He said that the local news media blew the story out of proportion.
The physician said his wife abused the state’s anti-abuse laws by making false accusations against him and his father.
“She said to me that she would devastate me and take the baby with her, and that’s what she has done,” Dr. Singh said.
He said that he has not filed for divorce.