Imam Mohamed Omar Ali has been accused of sexually abusing at least four children he met through his position as a leader in Fort Bend County's Muslim community. He was arrested on January 3 and has been charged with three counts of indecency with a child and one count of sexual assault of a child.
The alleged abuse is believed to have started in 2013. Officials believe that Ali abused several victims in their homes during Quran lessons and that he meets families for lessons at mosques in the area. Four victims have come forward but police suspect that there are others who are afraid to report being abused.
Ali has been a religious leader at several mosques in Fort Bend County and Houston, but police have not named these locations.
He is being held at Fort Bend County jail and could be deported back to Somalia.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan currently represents victims of sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Marc has offered to add some of his thoughts on the legal rights of religious organization sex abuse victims and their families:
Sexual abuse is a major problem in virtually all types of religious communities. Sexual predators often seek out leadership positions in these communities, where they exploit the trust of their followers in order to commit heinous crimes against children. When a religious leader sexually abuses children he met through his position, the victims and their families have legal rights.
In cases of sexual abuse within religious organizations, the victims and their families may be able to find justice in both criminal and civil courtrooms. Reporting the abuse to law enforcement may result in a criminal investigation and prosecution. Additionally, there are some situations in which these victims and families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the abuser or the religious organization itself.
For example, a religious organization could be held liable for covering up previous reports of sexual abuse involving the accused leader.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in a religious organization, you can learn more about your legal options in a free consultation with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers.