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5 boys came forward with the same secret. Here’s what we can learn from them.

Ehab Ghoneim has now taken a plea deal on all charges.

Jenna Bourne (WTSP), Libby Hendren

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Published: 4:27 PM EST February 27, 2023
Updated: 4:27 PM EST February 27, 2023

CONTENT WARNING: This story discusses childhood sexual abuse. You’re going to hear directly from boys who came forward to police. We are not going to get into any graphic details about their abuse, but if that’s something you are not OK with reading about right now, this is your heads-up. 

Five boys came forward to police with the same secret: A youth program volunteer from their mosque in Tampa had been touching them inappropriately.

“As a kid I was, I was, you know, I was terrified. I was like, what the hell's going on? You know what I'm saying?” a young man identified by Pinellas Park Police as Victim 5 told detectives in early 2021.

For the first time, 10 Investigates is reporting on the recordings of what the boys told police about Ehab Ghoneim.

“And he said, ‘Are you ever going to talk about it? We’re never going to talk about this again,’” a teen identified as Victim 4 told detectives.

Finding strength in each other, the boys were done staying silent.

“Yeah, this man needs to be stopped,” Victim 5 said in one police recording.

“And what kills me the most is, like, everybody described it the same way. Obviously, these stories now are being passed around. Everybody described it the same way. And I'm the one person who hasn't really talked about it,” a young man identified by police as Victim 2 told detectives.

When 10 Investigates first got a hold of these police recordings through a public records request to the State Attorney’s Office, we weren’t sure if we were ever going to report on them.

But as we listened through hours of these boys opening up to police, we realized there was a lot that we can learn from them about recognizing grooming behaviors and coming forward about abuse.

By sharing their stories, these boys can help prevent this from happening to other kids.

“When [another boy] was telling me about, you know, his story, I was like, yeah, you know, he's, you know, he's done something to me, too,” a teen identified as Victim 3 told Pinellas Park Police during his recorded interview.

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