LOCAL NEWS

Utah psychologist was under sex assault investigation at time of murder-suicide

May 27, 2023, 3:05 PM | Updated: 3:05 pm

Salt Lake police reports about Utah neuropsychologist Parth Gandhi, who killed his 16-year-old son ...

Salt Lake police reports about Utah neuropsychologist Parth Gandhi, who killed his 16-year-old son in a murder-suicide, describe lengthy custody disputes of the boy and a sexual assault investigation underway at the time of Gandhi's death. (SCPTR)

(SCPTR)

SALT LAKE CITY — Neuropsychologist Parth Gandhi was under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman when he murdered his 16-year-old son earlier this month and then killed himself.

That’s according to information from police reports obtained by KSL.com through a public records request. The reports also refer to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior made by a second woman. Additionally, state licensing officials received a report of Gandhi being arrested for “moral turpitude” years earlier.

On May 13, the day before Mother’s Day, 16-year-old Om Moses Gandhi — the son of Leah Moses and Parth Gandhi, 49 — was shot and killed inside Gandhi’s neuropsychology clinic at 2936 S. Highland Drive. Gandhi then shot and killed himself.

For years, Leah Moses accused her ex-husband of being abusive and she wanted to regain custody of Om to protect him.

Gandhi was a neuropsychologist and psychedelic therapist and earned a doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from BYU with a focus on neuroimaging and brain injury. He was active in the local yoga community and friends saw him as a kind, caring person. Others, however, said Gandhi had a darker side.

Most of the newly released police reports focus on child custody disputes. But a report filed three months ago alleges a sexual assault.

On Feb. 22, Salt Lake police were called to investigate a rape alleged to have occurred in June of 2022 involving Gandhi. A woman reported to detectives that she met Gandhi at an event at the Krishna Temple. She said she was invited to his house to have dinner. Once there, Gandhi gave her marijuana, ecstasy, psychedelic mushrooms and vodka, according to the police report, and “injected her with ketamine” which “made her go completely out.”

The woman told police she later had flashbacks of that night of Gandhi sexually assaulting her, the report states. She claimed a few days after the alleged assault, Gandhi went to her house for dinner and “it was a similar situation where Partha drugged her and raped her again,” according to the police report. The woman told police that she originally did not contact authorities “because she is afraid of Partha because he is a big guy and is worried what he would do if he finds out that she is the one that called on him.”

But the woman told detectives that after she learned that the same thing allegedly happened to another woman, she decided to contact authorities because “Partha is doing this with other women and (she) did not want him to keep assaulting other females,” according to the report. “She did not want to face him in court but wanted to report so that Partha will not keep taking advantage of women.”

The various reports refer to Gandhi as both Parth Gandhi and Partha Gandhi.

In another police report, Salt Lake police were called on July 26, 2022, “regarding suspicious activity involving a Dr. Parth Gandhi” at his Salt Lake office. A woman told an officer that she was studying psychedelic medication and that “she has some (post-traumatic stress disorder) involving a sexual assault in her past. She stated Parth had told her that he could help her overcome this by giving her some of the medication and having sex with her while she was under the influence of the medication,” the police report states.

The woman told police that “she reported it to DOPL (the Utah Division of Professional Licensing) and spoke to other psychiatrists about him and there is fear that because he made those statements that it would push back the study that has been going on with the medication.”

She also told police, however, that she did not want to pursue any action against Gandhi at that time and did not want officers contacting him because she was “in fear of retaliation for her and her career in medicine,” according to the report.

 

Ongoing custody fights

 

Moses filed for divorce from Gandhi in 2009. But the divorce was not finalized until 2014 because of ongoing disputes regarding child custody, according to court records. Even after the divorce was finalized, the child custody battles continued, the most recent hearing being held just last month.

According to a summary chart of cases referred to the Division of Child and Family Services obtained by KSL.com, more than a dozen referrals were made to DCFS regarding the Gandhi family. But every case was closed and determined to be “unsupported,” “unaccepted” or simply “closed” without action taken.

Since 2009, the Salt Lake City Police Department took at least 25 reports involving Gandhi in some way. The overwhelming majority of those police reports involved child custody disputes reported either by Moses or Gandhi. The typical case would involve one side calling police believing the other person was not abiding by the court-ordered visiting times. Most times, the reporting party would tell an officer that he or she simply wanted the violation on record and no criminal charges were pursued.

On June 16, 2009, Moses called police to act as a standby as she took her belongings and moved out of his house, according to one report. The responding officer wrote Moses allegedly believed: “Partha is very manipulative and knows what he is doing. She doesn’t trust him or what he may do. He is also described as being very brazen.”

Moses filed for protective orders against Gandhi in 2009 and 2011, court records indicate.

On July 15, 2009, Moses contacted police saying she believed Gandhi was violating the protective order — which included a no-contact order — by including a letter in the children’s diaper bag that was exchanged during pickup. The letter, Moses told an officer, according to the police report, “listed personal, religious, financial, professional and emotional goals, therapy-related material, outlined specific evaluations of his relationship with me and intentions to improve, as well as the same for each of the children.”

Leah Moses and her son Om Moses. Om, 16, was shot and killed by his father in a murder-suicide on May 13. (Photo: Leah Moses)

On Sept. 23, 2011, Gandhi contacted police accusing his ex-wife of stealing some of his patient medical records that were stored at his residence. Moses told police she was only trying to retrieve personal family records, which were mixed in with his patients’ records, and returned the records that did not belong to her when police questioned her, the report states.

On Oct. 4, 2011, Moses again contacted police regarding Gandhi’s behavior.

“(She) states she received 22 text messages this morning from her husband. All are concerning parenting issues and custody issues. (She) feels this is not necessary. I explained he is within his right to talk about custody and parenting issues and that until something is set by the courts they need to try and work this out,” the responding officer wrote.

Three days later, Moses and Gandhi came face-to-face at Om’s school during another custody dispute, according to another police report. Moses told police that “Parth started to get into her face and harass her.” Staff members at the school told officers that “nothing physical occurred during this incident but things have gotten physical in the past.”

Just 11 days later, on Oct. 18, 2011, Moses again contacted police claiming that Gandhi had been sending unwanted texts and emails for the past two months.

“She said (the texts) are very long as are the emails he sends. (She) said that during one of their court dates, her mother accused Parth of abusing the children. In one of the messages, Parth wrote, ‘Your mother’s (accusation) will haunt her.’ (She) has taken this as a threat to her mother. Now she fears Parth will try to bring harm to her mother,” a police report states. “(She) also claims she is receiving text messages from several of Parth’s family members.”

On Oct. 7, 2012, Moses contacted police to report she suspected Parth was abusing her children. On Nov. 20, 2012, however, in a follow-up report, police noted that the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office “declined to file charges in this case citing insufficient evidence.”

By 2015, Moses had temporarily relocated to New York to go to school. On Oct. 13, 2015, Moses wanted police to document another interaction with Gandhi in which she believed “Parth is attempting to force her into a bad situation where she might not react as she should.” Two days later, Moses reported that “she received an email from Parth saying she was not a fit mother and that she was delusional. He stated that the kids are safer with him.” police records state.

On June 15, 2017, Moses, who was still going to school in New York, filed another report with Salt Lake police alleging a child custody dispute. She requested a welfare check on her children and “also expressed some concern about Parth’s criminal record, stating that she believes something has happened or she heard something has happened. I informed her we could not divulge any of Parth’s criminal history but that we would respond for a wellness check,” the report states.

In a follow-up report, police wrote: “Both children appeared to be happy and good health. We returned to and informed her of her children.”

However, a separate “stipulation and order” filing made by the Utah Division of Professional Licensing on Feb. 8, 2018, against Gandhi, states that he had failed to report to the state that he had recently been arrested. According to the licensing report, “On Aug. 12, 2016, (Gandhi) was arrested and charged with a class B misdemeanor for a crime of moral turpitude by Salt Lake City police.”

Today, however, neither Salt Lake police nor the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office have record of that arrest. It is unknown if the information received by licensing division was correct, or if Gandhi later had those records expunged — which would essentially erase those records from government agencies as if they never existed.

Parth Ghandi (Photo: SCPTR)

From Sept. 18, 2017, through Sept. 24, 2020, police responded to at least seven more child custody disputes reported by either Moses or Gandhi. On July 19, 2018, an officer noted in his report that “I looked up the history regarding all parties and found a pretty lengthy custodial issue occurring.”

By Jan. 31, 2019, “Gandhi expressed that he would like to pursue charges,” another police report on a custody matter states.

On Feb. 27, 2019, Moses was charged with custodial interference, a class B misdemeanor, in Salt Lake County Justice Court. On Oct. 28, 2019, the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence over the objection of Gandhi, according to court records,

‘Delicate balance’

The next reports involved the July 2022 allegations of inappropriate conduct and the February report of sexual assault against Gandhi.

On May 15, the woman who made the report about being drugged and raped was informed by police that Gandhi was deceased and she said she no longer wished to pursue that investigation.

“With the suspect, Partha Gandhi, deceased, this case is closed. (The) district attorney’s office has also been notified of Partha’s death,” the report states.

Salt Lake police issued a statement to KSL.com on Friday regarding the sexual assault investigation into Gandhi at the time of his death.

“Investigating sexual assault cases can be complex and are very sensitive. Survivors may experience a range of emotional responses that can impact their willingness to engage with the investigation. In this case, the person who made the complaint did not want to proceed any further than reporting the allegations. When this occurs, detectives must strike a delicate balance between respecting the victim’s wishes while ensuring a pursuit of justice,” the statement says.

“Detectives worked to gather information and while they did, they learned about the potential of other witnesses or survivors – none of whom, however, would provide contact information or who felt safe at the time to speak with detectives. The SLCPD works with its victim advocates who can play a crucial role in assisting detectives and the survivors during this challenging and sensitive process.”

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Utah psychologist was under sex assault investigation at time of murder-suicide