Afghan refugee convicted of sexually assaulting 3-year-old girl claims his behavior is permitted in his culture

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A federal jury has convicted an Afghan refugee of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old girl who was housed at Quantico Marine Corps Base after the evacuation of refugees and others from Afghanistan. 24-year-old Mohammed Tariq was found guilty of abusive sexual contact by a jury during a trial held at the US District Court in Alexandria.

“According to court papers, Tariq tried to explain through interpreters that his conduct was acceptable in his culture. Efforts to have his statements suppressed were rejected by the judge,” local news reports.

According to the US Department of Justice, Tariq was arrested last September at Camp Upshur in Quantico after marines observed him fondling the girl above her clothes on her private parts. Marines also said that the girl was not related to him.

Tariq, who was brought to Virginia to the US during the evacuation of Afghanistan, is scheduled for sentencing on April 26.

“People who come to our country seeking haven from tyranny and terrorism deserve to live here in safety,” US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica Aber, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement Monday announcing the verdict.

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