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Trial delayed for former Tampa mosque youth program volunteer

The trial of a former Tampa mosque youth program volunteer who’s accused of drugging and sexually abusing boys has been delayed until November.

TAMPA, Fla. — The trial of a former Tampa mosque youth program volunteer who’s accused of drugging and sexually abusing boys has been delayed until Nov. 1.

Ehab Ghoneim’s trial was previously scheduled to begin on Aug. 23.

On Thursday morning, a judge agreed to postpone Ghoneim’s trial because his attorney, Jeremy Clark, said there are 19 depositions scheduled between now and Sept. 12.

Depositions are when lawyers gather sworn testimony from witnesses outside of court without a judge present, prior to trial.

Despite Ghoneim’s arrest in August 2021, Clark told the judge those depositions did not begin until last week.

Ghoneim has been out on bond since October 2021.

The former Islamic Society of the Tampa Bay Area youth program volunteer was arrested on three charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one molestation charge.

Earlier that 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.

On July 11, Ghoneim broke his silence, speaking to 10 Investigates’ Jenna Bourne for the first time.

Ghoneim told her he’s innocent and his lawyer has instructed him not to say anything else.

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

Documents show that 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 that he couldn’t prove the accusations were true, so he allowed Ghoneim to keep volunteering with the youth program.

Attorneys on both sides of the case estimate Ghoneim’s trial will last three days.

Ghoneim is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on Sept. 19.

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