After arriving in the U.S., a Somali refugee raped two women at knifepoint in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, even after confessing to the rapes as he “smiled and laughed,” the suspect was given leniency because of what he promised to the judge.
Despite confessing to raping two women on consecutive nights, 23-year-old Somali refugee Mohammed Ali Mohammed was given probation after promising that he’s “changed.” Mohammed had kidnapped, robbed, and raped his victims at knifepoint in Salt Lake City when he was 14, which he claimed was due to being a “very stupid kid,” according to WND.
After serving six years in juvenile detention center, Mohammed sat in court and admitted to doing “very, very horrible things” as a teenager. “I was a monster,” Mohammed said in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. “I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was a very stupid kid.”
Mohammed spent six years in the Wasatch Youth Detention Center but swears that he is a different person than the teen who brutally assaulted and raped two women, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Judge Vernice Trease believed in his transformation, rejecting sentencing the refugee to a term in the Utah State Prison and allowing him to walk out of her courtroom with nothing more than probation.
“There is nothing I could say or do that could restore what I did to them,” Mohammed said. “The only way I can show them I’ve changed is how I live my life.”
Judge Trease defended her sentence, vowing that she “won’t bat an eye” in sending him to prison if he violates parole. To this promise, Mohammed eagerly declared, “I won’t let you down.”
Understandably, his victims certainly don’t feel as optimistic. The first victim revealed that she was “terrified” to know that her rapist will be released, adding, “He did adult crimes and should have an adult sentence to match what he did.” Sadly, authorities have lost contact with the second victim, who is now believed to be homeless.
“I think he is getting away with less than he deserves,” his first victim said. “I want him in prison. … I want to have him feel what I felt.”
Mohammed’s defense attorney relentlessly defended his actions, suggesting that it was his refugee status that spurred his behavior. According to his mother, he was born in a refugee camp in Yemen, where he saw a thief kill his older brother before attacking him. He also allegedly witnessed the rape of his mother’s friend and suffered sexual abuse himself.
“He hadn’t been in the U.S. very long [when he raped the women] and really had no exposure to the American culture,” Martinez-Griffin said. “I’m not going to pretend what these two victims went through wasn’t horrific. But his experiences contextualize things, at least some.”
Disturbingly, Mohammed’s mother blames her son’s victims, insisting that they took advantage of him because he was “too young.” She claims that her son only pleaded guilty to the offenses of which he was accused because he believed it would get him out of trouble.
For the victims of sexual assault, appearing in court to testify against their attacker means reliving the trauma once again. The invasive rape kit, the explicit questioning, and hearing the detailed report of their own rape in a courtroom filled with strange faces is enough to make any victim think twice about going through the justice system.
So, when these two brave women came forward to ensure that their rapist was given the maximum sentence, they courageously gave every sordid detail and jumped through each hoop the court system had. Unfortunately, they endured the exhausting process only to watch their abuser walk out of the courtroom as a free man.
The investigation report confirms that Mohammed “smiled and laughed” when he was questioned about the rapes. However, whether feigned or sincere, the refugee has since assured the court that he is remorseful of his actions and has changed.
Only time will tell if Mohammed is truly reformed. Still, his horrific childhood should not excuse his crimes, although it certainly may explain his behavior. Many individuals have suffered tremendous abuse growing up but would never inflict such evil on others.