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Two New York Police Department officers were fired this year after allegedly raping an underage girl who was enrolled in the department’s youth program.
According to the New York Times, former officers Sanad Musallam and Yaser Shohatee are accused of having sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl between 2015-2016, while she was a member of the Law Enforcement Explorers program. During that time, the men allegedly exchanged more than 1,500 text messages with the girl, some of which included photos and sexually explicit comments.
While speaking at his disciplinary trial, 41-year-old Shohatee claimed he wanted to offer the “troubled” teen life advice and began communicating with her via Snapchat. According to disciplinary documents, the teen told investigators in 2018 that the officer had used to the platform to request photos of her, and at point asked if she “would be down to have sex.” Shohatee reportedly met with the girl three times in 2015 and 2016, once in his car and twice in his apartment. Shohatee told the judge that the teen had initiated the meetings, which did not involve sexual contact. However, in a 2017 interview with investigators, the girl said she had sex with Shohatee “four of five times at his apartment.”
Musallam claimed he had met the teen while responding to a missing person report made by her mother. The parent reportedly told authorities she had asked Musallam to mentor her daughter, who was facing substance abuse and behavioral issues. According to police documents, the teen told investigators Musallam had asked her to perform oral sex on him, but she ultimately refused. He then allegedly asked the girl “to give him a hand job,” and she reportedly complied.
Mussallam has denied the accusations.
“In today’s world, the allegation is enough,” Mussallam’s attorney, Roger Blank, told the Times. “The allegation that you did something wrong is enough to ruin careers and ruin livelihoods. And I believe the department lacked the political courage to make the right legal decision, and made what was the expedient political decision.”
Though the officers were terminated by the NYPD, they have not been criminally charged in connection to the alleged rapes. Authorities say the probe came to halt after the teen stopped cooperating with investigators.
“While investigating the trafficking of a teenage girl, our office learned of troubling allegations that she was sexually abused by two police officers years earlier,” the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office said in a statement to the Post. “While the young victim repeatedly refused to participate in any criminal or other legal proceedings, we referred our findings to the Internal Affairs Bureau, ultimately leading to the officers’ termination.’’