Quantico Marine Corps Base

Marine Corps Base Quantico main gates. (file photo)

A federal jury convicted an Afghan national Friday on charges of abusive sexual contact with a 3-year-old girl who was also recently evacuated to the U.S. from Afghanistan.

Mohammed Tariq, 24, was found guilty Friday, Jan. 21 of inappropriately touching the girl “over her clothing, on her chest, genitals and buttocks,” according to a press release issued Monday, Jan. 24, by the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Jessica D. Aber.

Tariq and the young girl victim were both evacuated from Afghanistan and were being housed at Camp Upshur on the Marine Corps Base at Quantico when the abuse occurred. The two were not related, however, the press release said.

The abuse was observed by U.S. Marines, and the victim’s family cooperated with the investigation, the release said.

“This case is indicative of law enforcement’s commitment to ensure the safety of immigrant and refugee members of our community,” Aber said in a statement.

“People who come to our country seeking haven from tyranny and terrorism deserve to live here in safety. I want to thank the Marines and the FBI for their commitment to upholding that ideal. It is the resilience and courage of the victim and her family in speaking out against this offender that is truly emblematic of the contributions refugees and immigrants make to our country,” Aber said.

Tariq is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on April 26 and faces a maximum of life in prison, although actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties, the news release notes.

“A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” the release said.

The case was brought as part of “Project Safe Childhood,” a nationwide initiative to combat “the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse,” the release said. Project Safe Childhood was launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice. 

Led by U.S. attorneys’ offices and the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood joins federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims, the release said,

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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