Someone may have tried to cover up sexual assault allegations against a popular Chicago area religious scholar, NBC 5 Investigates has learned.
Imam Mohammed Abdullah Saleem was arrested last week on charges that he sexually assaulted a 23-year-old female staff member who worked for him at the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin.
Saleem founded the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin in 1989. Thousands of students, many from Indian and Pakistani Muslim immigrant families, have attended the conservative Islamic boarding school.
While the imam denies the allegations through his attorney, NBC 5 Investigates obtained a police report which details how someone from the school had been in contact with the victim’s family, following the assault which allegedly happened between December 2013 and February 2014.
According to the report, the victim says it was “an attempt to pressure me so they can sweep this under the rug.”
Chicago attorney Steven Denny is representing five victims in the civil suit that accuses Saleem of decades of assault and child sex abuse.
"These issues go back to the 80s. In the 80s, two of my clients, Jane Doe 3 and 4, were both sexually molested by Saleem," said Denny.
The lawsuit details how Saleem allegedly sexually abused three young girls and a 23-year-old staff member at the school. Denny also said there’s a fifth victim who was allegedly abused by another staff member when the boy was 11-years-old.