A 19-year-old Afghan man has been found guilty of sexual molestation of a minor after groping a 14-year-old girl at a Christian church camp in Sweden.
Arif Moradi ‘repeatedly groped the girl’s breast and bottom’ while giving her a massage at the camp in Söderköping, south-east Sweden, where he was a leader.
Within hours of the verdict, Moradi and dozens of his supporters had taken to social media to accuse the young victim of lying and calling for her to be ‘punished’.
The incident took place during a baptism confirmation camp in November 2016. Moradi was attending the camp to ‘learn more about Christianity’, but due to his age, he was acting as a leader, a church representative told police in interviews.
Moradi, who has since converted to Christianity, arrived in Sweden as an unaccompanied minor in 2014, but his asylum application was denied a year later.
Last year, he underwent a dental examination that determined he was 18 years old, not 17 as he claimed. As he does not have a passport, he cannot be sent back to Afghanistan.
Moradi is an active political campaigner as a spokesperson for an organisation called ‘Ensamkommandes röster’ – Voices of Unaccompanied Minors’, has appeared in national media several times and met Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
The victim told police Moradi had made her uncomfortable in the day before the event, stroking her back and giving her compliments.
He had also requested to sleep in the same room as the victim, her friend – also 14 – and an 18-year-old female camp leader.
In the evening, Moradi, the victim, and her friend were in a common room, where the girl admits to asking Moradi to give her a massage.
She claims he ‘asked her and her friend if they wanted breast- and bum-massage’ and both girls said no, but he continued to massage the victim’s shoulders.
‘Suddenly Arif started to move down towards her stomach and grabbed her breasts underneath her clothes,’ court documents reveal.
She removed his hands and asked him what he was doing, to which he allegedly replied ‘breast massage’.
The victim later told police she panicked, but did not want to go home and leave her friend.
Later, when the group were in their shared bedroom, Moradi gave her a back massage as she laid down while he sat on her legs.
‘After a while, he moved further down and pulled down her shorts, started to tug at her underwear, massaging her bottom. He grabbed onto her buttocks and “spanked” them. He also kissed her on the back. She asked him what he was doing and he replied “bum massage”’.
She told police she was terrified but managed to get away and locked herself in the bathroom, where she texted her friend to come and help her.
The pair told church leaders of the incident, but it was not reported to police until the girl told her parents the following day.
Norrkoping district court wrote in its ruling that the 14-year-old had ‘relayed in great detail, consistently and coherently’ her version of events, and handed down a suspended jail sentence and ordered Moradi to pay 7,000 krona (£657) in damages.
They added that as a leader at the church camp Moradi was in a position of power, and that they found no reason for the victim to make false accusations.
Moradi wrote on Facebook he was ‘devastated’ by the ruling and claimed it was ‘to try to tarnish me, as I have now become a public figure in social media’. He also asked his friends to ‘have a proper think’ and ‘remember all I stand for’.
His Facebook post has had dozens of supportive comments, mainly from women, some of whom accuse the victim of lying.
One woman writes: ‘I’m sad and I hope that the unfair ruling does not create any troubles for you.
Another writes: ‘Oh yes, little girls with long eyelashes can cause hell for boys and men. A bit of crying and complaining usually helps in all situations for girls. F*** what pitiful people, I’m vomiting’.
Another woman posts several heart emojis before writing: ‘Beautiful Arif… What comes around… Goes around… They will have their punishment!’
Moradi also complains ‘they are demanding 7,000 krona (£657)…from a person getting 0 krona from the state’.
He said in police interviews he massaged the victim’s shoulders in the common room after she had asked him too.
He admits to sitting on her legs in the bedroom and ‘massaging her on the bottom for two-three seconds before stopping because it felt uncomfortable’, but denied all allegations of molestation throughout the investigation and trial.
The victim’s parents told police they feel ‘let down by the church’, as Moradi was allowed to join a Christian camp intended for much younger teenagers, and because the church failed to inform them about the incident.
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