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Judge denies request to delay molestation trial of former mosque volunteer

Ehab Ghoneim was arrested more than a year ago, accused of drugging and molesting boys.

CLEARWATER, Fla — A Pinellas County judge denied a request to delay the trial of a former youth program volunteer accused of drugging and molesting boys.

Ehab Ghoneim’s trial is scheduled for Nov. 1 and had already been delayed once before. His trial was originally set for Aug. 23.

Ghoneim spent years as a youth program volunteer at the Islamic Society of the Tampa Bay Area.

In May, 10 Investigates uncovered that, years before Ghoneim’s arrest, leadership at his mosque was told about accusations of inappropriate behavior in another state but let him keep having access to kids, anyway.

In 2017 and again in 2020, a former employee came to mosque leadership with reports accusing Ghoneim of inappropriate contact with kids in New Jersey.

The mosque’s administrator told police he wasn’t able to prove the accusations were true, so he allowed Ghoneim to keep volunteering with the youth program.

Ghoneim was arrested more than a year ago, in August 2021, on three charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one molestation charge.


Last year, boys told police Ghoneim sexually abused them during sleepovers at his house in Pinellas Park and on overnight trips out of town for events like Islamic youth conventions.

Police records show those boys reported Ghoneim would give them pills, get into bed with them, and touch them inappropriately while he thought they were asleep.

“We just need a little bit more time to be able to cross our T’s and dot our I’s, so that we can get everything together,” Ghoneim’s attorney Jeremy Clark told Judge Michael Andrews on Wednesday.

Clark said there are about 25 witnesses in this case and only half have been deposed. Depositions are when lawyers gather sworn testimony from witnesses outside of court without a judge present, prior to trial.

While some witnesses were no-shows, Assistant State Attorney Noelle Cummins blamed Clark for canceling other depositions.

“The bottom line is that depositions have been set and have been canceled for months now,” Cummins told the judge.

Andrews told Clark he should have been filing motions to compel or exclude no-show witnesses.

“It seems to me the failure to file a motion to compel, to a great deal, makes you complicit in their failure to participate in the process itself. And I don’t want to be involved in trying to help lawyers to do their jobs if they’re not trying to help themselves,” Andrews said.

The judge refused to delay the trial on Wednesday and asked the attorneys to return to the courtroom for a hearing on Friday, Oct. 28 – just days before the trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 1.

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