ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal jury has convicted an Afghan refugee housed at Quantico Marine Corps Base after he fled the country with a sexual assault.
The jury in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Friday found Mohammed Tariq, 24, guilty of abusive sexual contact.
Tariq was arrested in September at Camp Upshur in Quantico after Marines observed him fondling the girl, who was not related to him, above her clothes on her private parts.
According to court papers, Tariq tried to explain through interpreters that his conduct was acceptable in his culture. Efforts to have his statements suppressed were rejected by the judge.
Tariq, who was brought to Virginia after working alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is scheduled for sentencing April 26.
“People who come to our country seeking haven from tyranny and terrorism deserve to live here in safety,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica Aber, whose office prosecuted the case, said in a statement Monday announcing the verdict.