Indian sportsman arrested in US for sexually assaulting a minor
The judge decided not to accept a not-guilty plea because he was not sure if Hussain fully understood the charges against him.
An Indian sportsman has been arrested in the United States on the charges of sexually assaulting a minor girl, days after he arrived in the States from Kashmir for a snowshoe competition.
Tanveer Hussain, 24, had reached Saranac Lake in New York state for the World Snowshoe Championships.
The police said Hussain has been charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
He had been in the spotlight before the championship after the US Embassy in New Delhi denied him and another athlete Abid Khan visas around the same time President Donald Trump had issued an order barring people from seven Muslim-dominant countries, excluding India, to the US.
Hussain was allowed a visa to enter the US for the competition following intense lobbying from local officials and residents in the Adirondacks, as well as by US Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer. Hussain, along with Khan had planned to return home this week.
He was arrested on Wednesday after the girl accused him of sexually assaulting her, a report in the Adirondack Daily Entreprise said. Police Sergeant Casey Reardon said the girl and her parents reported the abuse to police. It took place around Monday evening in the village.
After the complaint, Reardon said police located Hussain who has been cooperating in the case, the report said. A lawyer was arranged for him, who entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
"I could not have entered anything else but a not-guilty based on the information I had," his lawyer Brian Barrett said. "Based on the limited communications I could have with Hussain, it did not allow for me to properly evaluate the case and make an informed decision on behalf of my client", Barrett said.
"They are merely allegations alone. Not only is he innocent, he is presumed innocent by law. That is how he should be seen in the community and by anyone paying attention in this case," he added.
The judge decided not to accept a plea because he was not sure if Hussain fully understood the charges against him. He remanded him to the Essex County Jail in Lewis in lieu of USD 5,000 cash bail or USD 10,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing on his case is scheduled on next Monday.
- Sexual assault