Toronto imam charged with sexual assault after allegedly convincing woman she was possessed
Police say the 49-year-old was arrested Tuesday while trying to board a plane to leave Canada
A Toronto imam has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual assault after allegedly trying to board a plane to leave the country amid an investigation into allegations against him.
Police are concerned there may be other victims.
The 49-year-old came to the attention of investigators in early 2019 when a woman came forward alleging the imam had sexually assaulted her, police say.
In a news release Wednesday, police said the woman first met the imam at a mosque over a decade ago in 2008. At the time, they say, the imam went to the woman's home, convinced her that she was possessed and that he could help her.
Police allege the woman was sexually assaulted at the imam's home during what he claimed was a religious ceremony.
The alleged assaults continued for a period of several years, they say.
Police also say the imam threatened to harm the woman on numerous occasions, as well as threatening to "expose her to the community and congregation."
Accused arrested at Pearson airport
On Tuesday, police said the imam tried to leave Canada and was arrested at Pearson International Airport.
They also have a message for other victims that haven't come forward.
"We want to make sure that everyone has access to support services and an exit strategy, regardless of their decision to proceed criminally," police said in the release.
The imam now faces a string of charges, including:
- Breach of trust.
- Three counts of sexual assault.
- Threatening death.
- Criminal harassment.
Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 416-808-7474 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.