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Utah Somali teen, who was abused in refugee camp, sentenced for rapes

Salt Lake Tribune
Monday, December 10, 2012
By Aaron Falk

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Zahra Mohammed said Tuesday November 27, 2012 in Salt Lake City her son Mohammed Ali Mohammed, who was 14 when police say he raped two women at knifepoint, is not guilty. Mohammed is now in juvenile custody, having pleaded guilty to the charges.

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Her voice stayed strong as she recounted the attack, step by step: night’s darkness, the knife’s blade, his demands, and her tears — how she tried so hard to hold them back, but how they came, and still do after one of the nightmares she cannot escape.

But another woman the man raped the next night could not bring herself to speak in the courtroom that day. She, too, was assaulted at knifepoint and then forced to take him to an ATM.

The machine’s security camera eventually led police to the perpetrator. He would later tell investigators he wanted the money so he didn’t have to wear stained clothes on the first day of ninth grade.

Mohammed Ali Mohammed turned 15 while being held on charges of raping the two women in August 2011. Still a few weeks shy of his 16th birthday, the teenager recently pleaded guilty to crimes that could keep him in a youth facility until he is 21, at which point it will be up to a judge to decide if he should serve more time as an adult.

"I think he is getting away with less than he deserves," his first victim said in a Salt Lake City courtroom in October. "I want him in prison. ... I want to have him feel what I felt."

‘Lawless’ refugee camps » According to charges filed in 3rd District Juvenile Court, Mohammed, then 14, raped the two women on consecutive nights in Salt Lake City.

On Aug. 14, the teen allegedly came up behind a woman who was outside her house with a dog and held a four-inch switchblade to her throat. He threatened to cut her if she screamed, the charges state, then raped her behind the home.

The following night, the boy broke into another woman’s home. He looked through drawers in the house before raping the woman, according to charging documents.

The teen then forced the woman to go to an ATM and withdraw $400 for him, the charges state.


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