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Attorney calls for sexual assault charges to be dismissed

Ibrahim Aljahim (right) sits in the Hamtramck 31st District Court during his preliminary examination. Photo courtesy of Hassan Abbas of the Arab American News.

 

 

By Charles Sercombe
The court hearing for a well-known community activist who is charged with sexually assaulting a student took a not unexpected twist.
The attorney for Ibrahim Aljahim has filed a motion to have the case dismissed.
The reasons cited for the dismissal are that the alleged victim is not credible and — despite the student being enrolled in a special education program — does not have mental issues.
The motion has delayed court proceedings for the third time in order to allow the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to respond to the motion.
Aljahim’s preliminary examination will continue in the Hamtramck 31st District Court on Thursday, Nov. 21, at noon.
He is facing two counts of first-degree criminal sexual assault of a male special education student on Sept. 18 when the student was 18 years old. The student, who attends Oakland International Academy, has since turned 19.
The Review does not identify the name of sexual assault victims.
Aljahim, 37, was the community liaison officer at the charter school, located in the former St. Florian High School building.
He has since been fired from the school.
According to the student’s testimony, Aljahim escorted him to his car in order to get some school books. The student said that while in his car, Aljahim performed oral sex on him and then was told to perform oral sex on Aljahim.
He said he did it because according to his religion, Islam, he must do what his elders tell him to do.
At Thursday’s hearing, it once again started off with Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, Kristen Cartwright, bickering with defense attorney Roger Farinha.
And once again Judge Alexis Krot admonished both attorneys to behave or face sanctions.
“This behavior in the courtroom is the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Krot said.
There were two witnesses who were called to testify by the prosecutor’s office: an aunt of the student, and a Hamtramck police officer who took the student’s complaint.
The student now lives with his aunt. The Review also does not identify relatives of sexual assault victims.
She gave a general background on the student’s learning problems and special needs. She said the student has a problem articulating his thoughts, and is often forgetful.
The student, indeed, often struggled to explain what happened to him during his testimony, and often became tongue-tied.
During a series of questions posed by Farinha, in the form of a double-negative, appeared to confuse the student to answer “yes” when he may have meant to say “no.”
Surprisingly, the assistant prosecutor that day, Nida Samona, did not raise an objection to that line of questioning.
The aunt said she became aware of something wrong with her nephew when she got a call on Sept. 18 after school was out. The student was at his grandparent’s home, and when the aunt got there, the student gave her the “tightest hug” ever and kept repeating “I’m glad you guys are here.”
He was then taken to Henry Ford Hospital, but they were told the hospital did not have a sexual assault kit. That’s when the Hamtramck police were called.
Officer Anthony Gonzalez testified that evidence was taken, but did not go into detail.
The prosecutor’s office has not submitted DNA evidence in this case, but previously submitted a certified medical report that says the student is “mentally incapacitated.”
Gonzalez had earlier contact with the student on Sept. 18. He was initially called to the school to investigate students who took a picture of the student’s genitals and shared them with others.
Gonzalez said when he got to the school the principal told him of the alleged sexual assault. He said when he asked the student if there had been an assault, the student said there had not been one.
It wasn’t until the student went to the hospital that he reported the alleged assault.
The student had previously testified that the reason he did not immediately report the alleged assault is because he was “praying inside” about what to do.
There are no more witnesses expected to be called to testify. On Nov. 21, the court will consider whether the case should be dismissed or to bind Aljahim over to the Wayne County Circuit Court where a trial could take place.
It is unusual for a district court judge to not bound over a suspect to circuit court. However, there have been two high-profile cases in recent months, one involving a murder suspect, that Judge Krot did not bind over to circuit court.
If Aljahim is found guilty, he could face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Aljahim is out on bond, but had to surrender his passport and has to wear an electronic tether.
Aljahim, a Yemeni-American, has not responded to requests for comment, but his supporters, mostly fellow Yemeni-Americans, have been active on a Facebook page called “I Love Hamtramck.”
They insist Aljahim is innocent, and that that the prosecutor’s case is falling apart.
Saleh Mosleh Almadrahi said Aljahim is the victim of a “witch-hunt.”
Another supporter, Fakhruddin Abdullah Malahi, said there is an effort “to ruin him (Aljahim) by this false accusations.”
Aljahim is well-connected in local, state and national political circles, mostly with Democratic politicians and candidates.
Nov. 9, 2019

10 Responses to Attorney calls for sexual assault charges to be dismissed

  1. Tea Party Patriot

    November 13, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Quick questions for the City of Hamtown:

    Did the prosecution or police ever disclose to the judge when requesting the arrest warrant for Ibrahim Aljahim that the student initially denied to police being sexually assaulted by anyone?

    Did the police or prosecution ever disclose to the judge when requesting the arrest warrant for Ibrahim Aljahim that the student did not report any assault until reaching Henry Ford Hospital long after denying to police any sexual assault occurred?

    Did the prosecution or police ever disclose to the judge when requesting the arrest warrant for Ibrahim Aljahim that it may have had no DNA or other scientific evidence to substantiate that a sexual assault occurred?

    Did the prosecution or police ever disclose to the judge when requesting the arrest warrant for Ibrahim Aljahim that documentation existed suggesting that the student was mentally incapacitated?

    Did the police ever request that Ibrahim Aljahim or the student submit to a polygraph examination?

    What evidence, if any, was taken by police, as suggested above in Corporal Gonzalez’ reported statement?

    Have any charges been issued or is there an ongoing investigation by police over the alleged photographs taken of the student’s genitals? Who are the suspects, if any? Have any photos been recovered and, if so, do they have any link to the charges against Ibrahim Aljahim?

    What judge issued the arrest warrant against Ibrahim Aljahim?

    What detective is in charge of the Ibrahim Aljahim investigation? What HPD officers have been involved with the case?

    Were the prosecution and police aware at the time they sought the arrest warrant for Ibrahim Aljahim that the student was “often forgetful”?

    The prosecution in court during a prior probable cause conference before Judge Krot referenced other possible sexual assault victims; are they still contending there is proof of other assaults?

    Besides Kristen Cartwright and Nida Samona – have any other assistant prosecutors been involved in the prosecution of this case against Ibrahim Aljahim?

    Who told the principal there had been an alleged sexual assault?

    Did the student ever testify the alleged sexual assault occurred in the morning of September 18th consistent with the time recorded on the school surveillance tape?

    Answer these questions, City of Hamtown.

  2. Tea Party Patriot

    November 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    The odd thing about the prosecution’s case was that they are arguing he was mentally incapacitated – in order to justify a criminal sexual conduct in the first-degree charge – but in doing so have correspondingly had to introduce testimony undercutting his credibility as a preliminary exam witness.

    A classic Catch-22 situation.

  3. Fatema Hossain

    November 14, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    According to the previous article, the Ibrahim Aljahim sex assault story was first disclosed to an authority figure when the youth who allegedly photographed the genitals of the alleged victim told the school’s dean of students of Aljahim’s alleged assault.

    The fact it originated not with the alleged victim but rather one who himself is being investigated for his own dubious conduct raises red flags – was he trying to divert any investigation of himself over to Aljahim? Certainly this scenario seems plausible when you consider the fact that the alleged victim denied Aljahim or any other staff member assaulted him upon initially being questioned by police.

  4. Marie Harding

    November 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

    So you are a sexual assault victim if you decide you were sexually assaulted during a date which you consumed too much alcohol and wait for 30 years to report but if a superior at a school sexual assaults a person with cognitive deficits and they wait a couple days for it to become clear in their mind, that’s too late? Wow

  5. Dennis Nowak

    November 15, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    @Marie Harding:

    The prosecution’s problem in this case is that the “person with cognitive deficits” DENIED to police when first questioned just hours after the purported event and later that same day FIRST reported at Henry Ford Hospital that a sexual assault occurred which happened AFTER police first questioned him.

    The prosecution’s theory is that the sex assault in question occurred when a school surveillance video camera captured both that student and Ibrahim Aljahim leaving the school toward the student’s parked car and that videotape is timed at BEFORE 9:00 a.m. on 9/18. Cpl. Gonzalez did not question that student until the afternoon and the student testified the assault occurred later in the afternoon. The problem with the student’s version is that the aunt’s testimony contradicts such a timeline.

    No testimony was introduced at the preliminary exam of any hospital personnel whom the student may have given a statement that he had been sexually assaulted nor any medical personnel administering a “rape kit”, therefore no forensic evidence had been presented to support the existence of a sexual assault – despite Cpl. Gonzalez testifying such evidence was taken.

    The performance of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office staff has been questionable – as noted in the above article. The District Court Judge hearing this case has been highly critical about how attorneys have presented themselves – as cited above. There have been criticisms that the Wayne County Prosecutor had “jumped the gun” and NOT proceeded to have had a thorough and exhaustive police investigation BEFORE bringing a serious charge against a prominent community leader.

    Kristen Cartwright – a young assistant prosecuting attorney – made allegations early in the action about potential multiple victims – yet no proof was ever introduced that indicated this.

    Has the Wayne County Prosecutor been overzealous in seeking charges in the incident before all facts were in?

  6. Fatema Hossain

    November 16, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    The sad thing about this whole scenario is that the suspect who police claimed had photographed the genitals of the alleged victim has not been charged with anything two months after the incident.

    There has been no explanation from Hamtramck Police why they have dawdled for so long regarding a heinous incident such as was described in news accounts.

  7. Dennis Nowak

    November 17, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Judge Krot has to make a tough choice.

    The Hamtramck police officers association endorsed her last election – but Ibrahim Aljahim organized campaign efforts for her in the Yemeni-American community.

    She is up for re-election in 2020.

    She needs to make the correct legal decision.

    Next Thursday expect a media blitz and community members at City Hall to see Krot’s ruling.

  8. Dennis Nowak

    November 17, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Asst. Pros. Atty. Kristen Cartwright has been transferred out of the Sex Crimes Unit of Kym Worthy’s office and is not expected to have any further role in the Ibrahim Aljahim prosecution.

    Judge Krot has given a deadline of this Monday for the prosecution to file a response to the dismissal motion.

  9. Fatema Hossain

    November 18, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    There is no DNA or other forensic proof to indicate a sexual assault occurred, no videotape or independent witness of any sexual assault, and the student initially denied to police – twice – that any sexual assault was committed upon him by Aljahim or any staff member.

    On top of that the student testified initially when questioned by Nida Samona that the assault incident occurred in the morning – but later testified during cross-examination that it occurred in afternoon – after he was questioned by police.

    So we have three different versions by the student:

    (1) the assault by Aljahim never occurred;

    (2) the assault by Aljahim occurred the morning of Sept. 18th;

    (3) the assault by Aljahim happened on the afternoon of Sept. 18th after he already told police twice that he had not been assaulted by Aljahim or any other staff member.

    The contradictions do not make much sense until you examine the testimony of the aunt that the student is often forgetful – it is great that the prosecution introduced this frank and enlightening testimony.

  10. Fatema Hossain

    November 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    One thing that Kym Worthy’s office and Hamtramck Police Dept. have accomplished is generating an intense level of media coverage in this case.

    Chief Moise’s “press release” to announce the criminal charges against a prominent community leader and the prosecutor making statements in public about the possiblity of several “victims” attracted media attention for sure.

    However this case ends up – and it does not look great for the prosecution – a media frenzy has been attained.

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