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Molestation trial of former mosque volunteer delayed again

Ehab Ghoneim was arrested last year, accused of drugging and molesting boys. He was a youth program volunteer at the Islamic Society of the Tampa Bay area.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The trial of a former youth program volunteer accused of drugging and molesting boys has been delayed a second time, a court spokesperson confirmed to 10 Investigates.

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

A new trial date will be chosen on Nov. 1, according to the court spokesperson.

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. 

"Can't believe it," Ghoneim's nephew Nour Elsayed told 10 Investigates reporter Jenna Bourne over text message on Wednesday. "In shock. His day will come."

Elsayed told 10 Investigates his uncle drugged him and touched him inappropriately when he was 14. Elsayed's accusations are in police records, but Ghoneim has not been charged with molesting him.

On Oct. 12, Judge Michael Andrews denied defense attorney Jeremy Clark’s request to delay the trial. 

During that hearing, Clark said there are about 25 witnesses in this case and only half had 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 on Oct. 12. 

Court records show several depositions have taken place in the weeks since.

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