TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A longtime member of the Islamic Society Of Tampa Bay Mosque said he is going public with details about a molestation case involving a former youth leader to help his religious family heal.
Former Sligh Mosque Youth Director Ehab Ghoniem, 52, of Pinellas Park is charged with four felonies for allegedly molesting five children at his Pinellas Park home.
Police said Ghoniem, who is out on $450,000 bond, met the minors through the mosque youth program and molested them at his home.
Now, a man who has been a member of the mosque for more than 10 years will be introduced in a news conference Tuesday morning to release details from an affidavit that will be filed in a civil case involving one of the victims named as John Doe No. 1.
The man described as a mosque “insider” told 8 On Your Side there are more than five victims and he claims mosque leadership failed to stop the alleged abuse. He said he will testify for the victims.
The attorneys for the mosque and other defendants have denied the allegations in the civil lawsuit, but have yet to respond to requests for comment about the mosque member’s claims.
In August, the civil lawsuit victim’s attorney Sam Badawi said he suspected the number of victims would reach double digits.
The victim in the civil case alleged Ghoniem drugged him to put him asleep before allegedly molesting him.
The civil lawsuit also names Sligh Mosque youth leaders Said Al-Albani and Arjan Abu Saad, alleging they were negligent in failing to supervise Ghoniem. Al-Albani and Saad, who are not criminally charged, have denied the allegations in the civil case, according to court filings.
Many of the mosque families are refugees from war-torn Afghanistan, according to the Mosque insider who tells me they feel betrayed.
Badawi’s spokesperson Travis Horn said the insider will make a statement, release excerpts from his sworn affidavit and answer media questions.
“This courageous individual has met with attorneys for the victim in this case,” Horn said. “I’ve personally met with him on several occasions and find him to be credible and believable.”