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Private religious instructor gets 4 years for sex abuse

Last month, Muhammad Hasan pleaded guilty to two child sex abuse charges involving two girls who were his students. One was 17 years old, the other was 9 years old.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. — A man who taught children about the Quran at his private business in Tigard is going to prison for four years after pleading guilty to sex abuse charges.

Last month, Muhammad Hasan pleaded guilty to two child sex abuse charges involving two girls who were his students. One was 17 years old, the other was 9 years old.

Megan Johnson, senior deputy district attorney for Washington County, said the 17-year-old felt “shocked, confused, guilty, stuck, and frozen” during the abuse. Before the investigation, the two girls did not know about what was happening to the other. Both studied Quran memorization with Hasan for a year or two at his business, the American Islamic Center for the Holy Quran (AICQ). The abuse occurred in Hasan’s office in 2016.

Tigard police heard about the incidents involving both girls around the same time in 2017 and began investigating.

RELATED: Private religious instructor accused of sex abuse in Tigard

Johnson said through the course of the investigation, detectives found similar reports against Hasan in Vancouver, Washington. Detectives were met with road blocks. The situation had been handled within the community. Hasan was no longer teaching in the Vancouver Muslim community, and it seemed no one wanted to officially go on the record to make a report.

Now, investigators are worried that there could be more victims.

Johnson said this particular child sex abuse case is the most difficult one she, her office, and the Tigard Police Department have encountered. People have been hesitant to speak out about such a well-loved person.

But on Friday, Judge Theodore Sims handed down Hasan’s sentence: four years in prison. He is now a registered sex offender for life. Hasan is not allowed to have contact with any minors, with the exception of his 16-year-old daughter.

Throughout his sentencing, Hasan sat stoic with an interpreter beside him.

“This is a sad case for so, so, many reasons,” said Johnson as she began speaking in court.

“The pain [the victims] have suffered at his hands is remarkable,” she said.

The pain is from both the abuse, but also the violation of trust. Hasan was adored and trusted in the community.

“That enabled you to victimize some kids and got you into a position of trust in the community, which you violated,” said Judge Sims told Hasan.

Hasan’s lawyer, in court, asked the judge to factor in the good he has done in the community in trying to bridge the gap between Muslims and people of different faiths. Hasan briefly spoke through his interpreter.

Credit: Christine Pitawanich
Muhammad Hasan in court on Feb. 1, 2019

He said he would make his best effort to be a good citizen and serve the community when he is released from jail. Hasan touched on his religious goals, that people of different faiths live in harmony.

He also requested that he serve out his time in the Washington County Jail, and if he had to go to prison, he wanted to have his own cell.

Johnson said it's unlikely he'll get what he wants. At no time did Hasan apologize.

The victims' families were in the courtroom but did not want to speak.

Johnson commended them for their strength and character through the whole process and for coming forward.

If you know of anyone who knew Hasan or might be a victim, Tigard police wants to talk with you. Johnson said, for years, Hasan had unfettered access to young girls.