A 22-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested after only two months in the United States after he was accused Thursday night of inappropriately touching a 13 year-old girl at a public swimming pool in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Emad Hasso allegedly repeatedly harassed and grabbed a 13 year-old girl in the state-run swimming pool until a lifeguard intervened, according to the Lowell Sun.
Prosecutor Sam Miller said that around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, the 13-year-old Lowell girl was at the Raymond Lord Memorial Pool at the North Common Park in Lowell when she said a man approached her, touched her upper thigh and asked her age.
The girl told him she was too young for him and walked away, Miller said.
The man, who was later identified as Hasso, allegedly began to follow the girl around the pool and approached her again when she was swimming, touching her upper thigh and again asking her age.
The girl responded that she was a “little kid, leave me alone,” Miller said.
Other people at the pool, including the lifeguard, saw some of the interaction between Hasso and the alleged victim, and intervened, Miller said.
Hasso was held on a $25,000 cash bail after pleading guilty to one count of indecent assault and battery on someone under 16.
Police said that the interaction between Hasso and the young girl may have been caught on video security cameras.
Defense attorney William Kittredge said Hasso denies inappropriately touching the teen or speaking to her, saying that he may have “accidently bumped her.”
Hasso came to the United States only two months ago at taxpayer expense, who will also have to pay for additional court expenses as well as the interpreter since Hasso speaks very little English.
Judge Stacy Fortes ordered that Hasso not speak to anyone under the age of 16, except for family members as well as stay away from the young girl, the pool and all DCR properties.