A man described by authorities as an Islamic religious leader in Fort Bend County has been accused of using his position to commit sex crimes against children.
During a news conference Monday morning, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said 59-year-old Mohamed Omar Ali was arrested Jan. 3 in the Houston area of Fort Bend County. Ali has been charged with three counts of indecency with a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Bond has been set at $25,000 for each indecency count and $50,000 for the sexual assault charge. However, police said an ICE deportation order has been set for Ali, meaning he will not be released from custody of the FBCSO.
According to Nehls, the arrest stemmed from a joint investigation with the FBI’s Houston office dating back to September. Ali has spent time as an Islamic religious leader called an Imam in several mosques around Fort Bend County and the Greater Houston area, according to the FBCSO.
“We always want to make sure these children have a voice so we can bring justice to that child and allow them to move forward with their lives,” Detective Michael Alexander said.
According to Alexander, FBSCO was initially contacted by the FBI’s Houston office as well as some of the victims. Alexander said Ali’s alleged crimes in Fort Bend County date back to 2013.
Though Ali was not officially employed by any particular mosque, he was called upon to lead prayers and teachings, according to police. Alexander said police believe Ali, who was fluent in Arabic, was able to gain access to victims’ homes through religious capacities, where he would teach children about passages of the Quran.
Police said there could be more victims both locally and nationwide as Ali has traveled to Fort Bend County from other states.
“We do know that there are other victims out there. It is our plea for the other victims to reach out to us so we can conduct a further investigation,” Nehls said. “I don’t care what religious affiliation you are or whether I offend you. Our focus now is the children.”
Anyone with information or any additional victims willing to come forward can reach out to Sgt. Howell with FBCSO at 281-341-4797.