EAST ELMHURST — Authorities have arrested an after-school program teacher who sexually abused a 9-year-old girl in his class at a Queens mosque — after the girl revealed the abuse during a sex abuse prevention workshop at her elementary school, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Mohammad Rana, 46, an instructor at an after-school religious program at the Islamic Center of Jackson Heights, Masjid Abu Huraira mosque at 78-04 31st Ave., groped the girl twice over the past three months, according to the Queens DA’s office. He’s been working at the center for seven years, his lawyer said.
The first incident took place some time between Nov. 30, 2015, and Jan. 28, 2016, when Rana allegedly reached underneath the girl’s shirt, grabbed and squeezed her chest and said, “you are a good girl,” according to his criminal complaint.
He also allegedly touched the girl’s chest over her clothing on Feb. 3, 2016.
The victim came forward about the alleged abuse while attending a sexual abuse prevention workshop at her elementary school, the DA said.
The program uses puppets to discuss inappropriate behavior, and the girl told the instructor what happened to her, according to the complaint.
Officials at the mosque could not be reached for comment.
Rana, who lives in East Elmhurst, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and charged with two counts of first-degree sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted he faces up to 7 years in prison, the DA said.
At his arraignment, he told investigators he may have accidentally made contact with the victim when asking her to line up before leaving, according to the complaint.
“Usually before the class in mosque is over I tell all the kids to form a line,” he said, saying the victim often tries to leave before it’s time.
He’ll sometimes put his hand on the door, and on her, to stop her from leaving and “unintentionally and without thinking about where I make contact.”
He said he “never had any ill intentions whenever my hands came in contact with her” and asked for forgiveness.