Thursday, May 21, 2009

Florida Imam Arrested for Sex Assault of Boy

(Tampa, Florida) The imam of Masjid Omar Al Mukhtar mosque, Yasser (aka Yaser) Mohamed Shahade, 35, has been arrested by Tampa Police for the alleged sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy.

Shahade is an Egyptian who arrived two months ago to become the mosque's full-time imam.

The alleged victim's father actively supported bringing Shahade, his wife and two daughters to Florida when the mosque needed a leader. Although no background check was performed, Shahade appeared qualified.
Some mosques allow boys to stay overnight as a way of freeing them from family pressures and encouraging prayer.

So, for the past four weekends, the father had allowed his two sons to stay a night with Shahade at the mosque. [...]

Saturday night, the boys ended up in the imam's private room at the mosque, the father later learned.

He said his son gave him this account: The boys watched television with the imam and then the imam prayed. The imam gave the 13-year-old a glass of water.

The boy's next memory came at 6 a.m. Sunday. He awoke on the edge of the imam's bed and felt the imam on top of him, the father said. Shahade got off him and left the room, the father said.

The boy woke his younger brother, then called their mother, who told their father. The father instructed the 13-year-old not to go to the bathroom or wash. He knew physical evidence would be important. He told the boys to wait outside for him.

He consulted with a Muslim doctor and took his son to Tampa General Hospital. The hospital put him in a private room and told him to call police. The boy talked to a nurse, three detectives and a social worker. He was examined at a rape crisis center. Police arrested Shahade at the mosque.
Notably, there are indications that the 13-year-old's younger brother may also have been sexually assaulted on a previous overnight visit.

Shahade has been charged with sexual battery. He was booked into custody at the Falkenburg Road Jail without bail. Since he is an Egyptian citizen in the U.S., immigration officials have been notified.

Companion post at The Jawa Report.

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