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Imam charged with sex offences

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08:41 CEST+02:00
A 48-year-old imam who teaches children about the Koran has been charged with sexually molesting an 11-year-old female student.

According to the charge sheet the incidents are alleged to have occurred in August and September 2009 in the girl's family home south of Stockholm. The 48-year-old was a regular visitor to the apartment and taught the girl and her 14-year-old elder brother about the Koran and the Arabic language.

When the girl finally revealed what she had been subjected to her parents immediately called the police.

"The mother was scared that more children could be exposed," district prosecutor Eva Kokkonen told news agency TT.

The sexual molestation involved the man groping the girl, including her breasts.

"It is always serious when a child is exposed to sexual acts. Especially when it takes place in her home and with a person she should be able to have confidence in. I consider that the man abused his authority and the punishment should be prison," Kokkonen said.

The prosecutor argues that the evidence against the imam is strong.

"The girl's story is reliable and her reaction when she told her parents is typical of abused children. She was very sad and so ashamed that she could barely talk about what had happened. Her big brother who arrived at the lesson later supported her story by testifying to the man's exaggerated indiscretion towards the girl," Kokkonen said.

"He presented himself to me as an imam, I think that makes the crime worse. I am shocked over what he has done," the girl's mother told news agency TT.

The trial will be held in Södertörn district court before the summer. The man denies all charges.

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