2016-02-17 / Front Page

Mosque Instructor Charged With Child Sexual Abuse

By Liz Goff
An after-school instructor at an East Elmhurst mosque has been charged with sexual abuse for repeatedly touching a 9-year-old female student in “an inappropriate manner,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Law enforcement sources said that some time between September 2015 and February 5, 2016, Mohammed Ram, 46, an instructor at an afternoon religious program at the Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque at 78-04 31st Street in East Elmhurst, reached under the 9-yar-old victim’s clothing and grabbed and squeezed her breasts and buttocks with his hand while saying, “You’re a good girl.”

The alleged abuse occurred while Rama was teaching religion class - in front of other students, court papers state.

The girl first reported the incidents to her mother after she attended a sexual abuse prevention program at her public school on February 9, a law enforcement source said. “The program used puppets to teach youngsters how to tell a good touch from a bad touch,” the source said.

The mother did not immediately report the incidents to police or authorities, the source said. “She later told investigators that she wanted to talk with her imam before she got the police involved.”

The girl then described the acts to a workshop instructor who immediately called police.

“According to the charges, the defendant is accused of using his position as a religious instructor at a mosque to prey on a young student,” Brown said. “These are serious allegations. This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that law enforcement is prepared to apprehend and prosecute sexual predators who betray and defile youngsters,” Brown said.

Rama, of East Elmhurst, was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of endangering the welfare of a child at his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

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