North Texas Muslim cleric ordered to pay $2.55M in sexual exploitation lawsuit | Courts

Sheikh said in an email Tuesday afternoon that he believed the judgment against him “is in error.”

“Unfortunately, litigation in this country does not always favor the truth,” he said. “In most cases, it boils down to how much financial stamina one has, and whether one has good legal representation.”

Sheikh said he was considering appealing the judgment. He represented himself in the later stages of the lawsuit, saying he had to let his attorney go early on because of a lack of money. 

“The odds were stacked against me winning this case,” he said. 

Susan Adams, one of the woman’s attorneys, said in a written statement announcing the judgment that the result “offers justice and hope not only to her but to other survivors of abuse.”

The lawsuit says Sheikh served as a counselor to the woman, referred to as Jane Doe, during her teenage years. 

The lawsuit accuses Sheikh of sexually exploiting Doe after she turned 18, while he acted as a mental health services provider to her. It also accuses him of counseling malpractice.

“Jane’s emotional dependency as a result of being counseled by defendant from age 13 to age 19 led Jane to be fearful of losing defendant’s support in her life, and therefore created a situation where Jane was unable to refuse defendant’s requests,” the lawsuit says, referring to Sheikh’s alleged requests for sexually explicit photos and videos, and, ultimately, intercourse.

When Doe was 19, Sheikh had sex with her at a Motel 6 and later gave her a pregnancy test, saying it was to ensure she wasn’t pregnant so he wouldn’t lose his job, the lawsuit claims. 

Sheikh cut off contact with Doe after that, according to the lawsuit. 

A person who answered the phone Tuesday at the Islamic Center of Irving declined to comment and said he could not help reach anyone else for more information.

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