Mohammed Omar Ali, a 61-year-old Quran teacher in the close-knit Somali community, was sentenced to spend the next 35 years in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing three children. Ali was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and two counts of Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact. On October 29, 2021, a jury found Ali found guilty on all three charges.
The jury trial was held in the 400th District Court, where the defendant elected to have the trial judge assess his punishment. After hearing testimony from a fourth child victim, Judge Tameika Carter sentenced Ali to 35 years for the offense of aggravated sexual assault and ten years for each charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact. The sentences will run concurrently.
Charann Thompson and Tristyl McInnis, prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Division, presented the case to the jury. The evidence revealed that Ali used his position as a Quran teacher to gain access to children with whom he then engaged in sexual contact from 2013 until his arrest in 2019.
Lead prosecutor Charann Thompson indicated, “More often than not, child victims don’t disclose sexual abuse. They fear they will not be believed, or worse, they will be believed but nothing will be done to protect them. In this case, the bravery of one child coming forward had the domino effect of inspiring other children to do the same. Because of the children’s bravery, Mohammed Omar Ali was brought to justice and was held accountable for his horrible behavior.”
Thompson and McInnis also credited Sergeant Michael Alexander of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and Special Agent Dan Galloway of the FBI for their hard work on the case. The prosecutors also emphasized the importance of the Fort Bend County Children’s Advocacy Center’s efforts, including their forensic interviews and the therapy services the agency provided to the children and families in the case.
District Attorney Brian Middleton added that, “People with easy access to children; such as relatives, friends, or neighbors, can take advantage of their relationship to abuse children. In this case, the offender hid behind the cloak of providing religious education. The abuse he committed was an abominable betrayal of the trust and innocence of the children he hurt, and an aberration to all religions including Islam. I am grateful for the courage and fortitude of the young witnesses who testified at this trial. Justice was served because of their courage. Due to the collaboration of federal and local law enforcement during the investigation and prosecution of this case, Mohammed Ali will never be able to hurt another child.”
“I want to thank our investigators and the District Attorney’s Office for making it their mission to shut down this individual and get him off our streets,” said Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan. “We will continue to work diligently with other agencies and the public to make sure our children are safe and protected.”
“Adults in positions of authority who are freely given the respect and affection of children should never violate their precious trust,” said FBI Houston Field Office Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner. “The FBI needs support from our community including both witnesses and victims to report alleged sexual abuse even when there is fear of disgrace or shame. Members of the law enforcement community take a comprehensive approach to protecting victims’ privacy and preventing alleged sexual predators from harming children. In this case, the long-standing partnerships and collaboration between FBI Houston, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, and the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, served as a force multiplier in our fight to bring alleged child predators to justice.”
“For years, Mr. Ali used his position of trust in the community as a ruse to prey on our most vulnerable population,” said Mark Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston. “Thanks to the strength and resilience of the victims who came forward to report the abuse to law enforcement, we were able to secure a conviction and he will no longer be free to victimize another innocent child.”
Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in this case is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years, or life, in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact is a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and the same fine.