On Feb. 25, Schumer celebrated Hussain’s “rock star” welcome in a Facebook post…
SARANAC LAKE — Village police Wednesday arrested a snowshoe racer from India, whom the community wholeheartedly welcomed for this past weekend’s World Snowshoe Championships, after a local girl accused him of sexually abusing her.
Tanveer Hussain, 24, of Kashmir, India, stands charged with first-degree sexual abuse, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. First-degree sexual abuse, according to New York law, means the perpetrator “subjects another person to sexual contact” without consent, in this case because the alleged victim is under age 13 and legally too young to give consent.
Police Sgt. Casey Reardon said the girl and her parents reported the alleged abuse to police. It allegedly took place around 5 p.m. Monday at a location on Park Avenue in the town of St. Armand portion of the village, but Reardon didn’t give more specifics. He did not give the girl’s exact age or identity.
After the complaint, Reardon said police located Hussain around noon today while he was walking down Bloomingdale Avenue.
“We approached with him, and he came with us willingly and has been cooperative since,” Reardon said.
Abid Khan, the other snowshoer who came here from Kashmir for the world championships, says Hussain told him he is innocent.
Reardon, asked about Khan’s account, said police have enough evidence for probable cause.
“We’re confident in our investigation and the results of it,” he said. “There were other witnesses. Social media was involved. There’s evidence that supports the charges.”
Hussain and Khan were celebrities here at this weekend’s snowshoe events due to the effort it took to get them here. Three weeks ago, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi denied their visa applications, reportedly thinking they might not return home due to a lack of “strong ties” to their home country. Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who had met them at last year’s championships in Italy and invited them to come here, reached out for help from New York’s U.S. senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Seventh-graders from Saranac Lake Middle School wrote letters to the senators on the Indians’ behalf. As their plight drew media attention here and in their home country, the senators contacted the embassy, which let the men resubmit their visa applications — and approved them.
The visa denial happened around the same time President Donald Trump issued an order barring travel into the U.S. from seven countries. India was not one of them, but many local people associated the two developments and went out of their way to welcome these Muslim foreigners.
Saranac Lakers have poured out their hearts to these men since they arrived Thursday. Porcupine owner Fred Mazzeo offered them lodging free of charge and picked them up from the airport in Burlington, Vermont. Some restaurants offered them free meals. Rabideau started a crowdfunding campaign that raised more than $1,600 in seven days to cover some of their travel expenses. Hussain and Khan spoke to the middle schoolers Friday and showed them videos of Kashmir and its winter recreation. The pair got some of the biggest cheers of the night at Friday’s opening ceremonies.
Mazzeo, reached by phone at his inn early Wednesday evening, said he had been in Plattsburgh all day and knew nothing of the arrest.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “They couldn’t be nicer.”
Told of the nature of the charges, he expressed even greater shock.
Swinyer decided not to accept a plea because he wasn’t sure if Hussain fully understood the charges against him. He remanded him to the Essex County Jail in Lewis in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond, less than the $10,000 cash and $20,000 recommended by the county district attorney’s office. A preliminary hearing on his case is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday.
(Editor’s note: We have turned off comments on this story due to the uncivil nature of what people posted. Comments are still allowed on the Enterprise Facebook page.)
Editors around the world were quick to point out the snowshoe athlete’s who were denied a visa were Muslim, but now they are just Indians. The IJR followed up on this and provides screenshots from the BBC as just one example (BBC Was Quick to Say ‘Kashmiri Muslim’ When Denied Visa, But After Reports of a Heinous Crime… Not So Much).
WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Tanveer Hussain, a snowshoe athlete from Kashmir, has been denied a U.S. visa because of the country’s “current policy,” his coach said.
Hussain, 24, was scheduled to compete in this year’s world snowshoe championship, which is being hosted in New York.
His teammate, Abid Khan, also had his visa denied. Both athletes are Muslims.
Update: The Washington Post has updated their fake news report – “An earlier headline on this article incorrectly linked the denial of a U.S. visa for Tanveer Hussain to President Trump’s travel ban.” – on the sexual assault: Indian athlete who got high-level help for U.S. visa now accused of sexual assault
Mir had said that the visa would not have been issued without the “personal efforts” of Schumer and New York’s other Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. On Feb. 25, Schumer celebrated Hussain’s “rock star” welcome in a Facebook post, saying that the United States is “Still a country that welcome athletes from across the globe to compete in our stadiums, our snow-covered fields and everywhere in between.”
A spokesman for Schumer said the senator had helped with the visa process at the request of Saranac Lake and described the charges against Hussain as “extremely troubling.”
Gillibrand did not respond to a request for comment.