How does a 27 year old man ‘fall in love’ with a 12 year old girl he just happens to see in a mosque? And why would a family member help facilitate a union between the two? Well, these are just a couple of questions that are being asked, about what happened in Hunter Valley, Australia.
. . . And what does that get you, in a Downing Center District Court? Try 10 years in prison for persistent sexual abuse of a child.
The man, who had been in Australia on a student visa since 2013 saw the girl in a mosque and pursued her until he found a Muslim cleric who would marry them.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
The court was told the man first saw the girl at a Hunter Valley mosque in November 2013. He made inquiries about marrying her but after a supervised meeting he was told she was not interested as he was “too old”.
However, the man began contacting her by text message, sometimes sending dozens of messages a day. About a month later the girl began communicating with him.
The court heard the imams from the mosque the girl’s family attended had told the man any marriage would be illegal and they would not assist. However, Sheikh Muhammad Tasawar, an Iranian cleric based at a different mosque, agreed to “marry” the couple.
After the two were married they moved into a series of motels before moving into a rented home. As he attempted to become her legal guardian, red flags were raised, as it is illegal to marry a 12 year old in Australia. The man was charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with an underage child. She became pregnant, by the way, and suffered an ectopic pregnancy.
The cleric who married the two also pled guilty to the offence of solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person. He was fined $500 and his religious leader visa was cancelled.
The groom will be eligible for parole in 2012, but will likely get booted out of Australia