It’s been six years since Somali refugee Mohammed Ali Mohammed, then age 14, sexually assaulted two women at knifepoint on consecutive nights in Salt Lake City.
Mohammed, now just one month from his 21st birthday, attacked one woman who was standing outside of her home on Aug. 14, 2011.
The teen came up behind the woman, who was outside her house with a dog, and held a four-inch switchblade to her throat. He threatened to kill her if she made a sound, according to police reports, then he raped her behind the home.
On the following night, the teenager from Somalia broke into another woman’s home and beat her before demanding she go to an ATM and withdraw $400 for him.
He would later tell investigators he wanted the money so he didn’t have to wear stained clothes on the first day of ninth grade.
Fast-forward to Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. After serving six years in juvenile detention center, Mohammed sat in court and admitted to doing “very, very horrible things” as a teenager.
“I was a monster,” Mohammed said in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. “I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was a very stupid kid.”
But after six years in the Wasatch Youth Detention Center, Mohammed swears he is a different person than the boy who brutally attacked the two women in 2011, according to a report by the Salt Lake Tribune.
“There is nothing I could say or do that could restore what I did to them,” he said. “The only way I can show them I’ve changed is how I live my life.”
Because he is about to age out of the juvenile system, Judge Vernice Trease had the option of sentencing Mohammed to a term in the Utah State Prison or let him walk free on probation. She chose the latter.
Mohammed has been at the youth detention center since he pleaded guilty in 2012 to rape, sexual assault and kidnapping charges.
According to the terms of his probation, he must check in weekly with the court and his probation officer. He is banned from having Internet access and must wear an ankle monitor.
If he violates his probation, the judge said she “won’t bat an eye” in sending him to prison to serve consecutive sentences on the three crimes he pleaded guilty to in adult court.
“I won’t let you down,” Mohammed told the judge at the end of the hearing.
Female victims outraged at sentence
Neither the prosecutors nor Mohammed’s victims were happy with the judge’s sentence.
One victim told the judge that she is “terrified” at the thought of Mohammed being out on the same streets where she lives, the Tribune reports.
The woman, who was assaulted inside her home, asked for the strictest sentence the judge could impose, saying she has to live with flashbacks and fear every day.
“He did adult crimes,” she told the judge while fighting back tears, “and should have an adult sentence to match what he did.”
This is not the first Somali refugee to cause heartbreak and tragedy in Utah.
In February 2016, 17-year-old Abdi Mohamed was reportedly in a coma after being shot three times by police following an incident in which Abdi was found beating another man, Fox 13 Now reported.
According to a press release from the Salt Lake City Police Department, officers witnessed two males with metal objects attacking a male victim around 8 p.m. in the area of 300 South Rio Grande Street.
The release states: “Officers confronted the two suspects and ordered them to drop the weapons. One of the males complied and dropped the weapon, the other [Abdi Mohamed] continued to advance on the victim and was shot by officers.”
That shooting sparked protest rallies to break out in the city with protesters throwing rocks and bottles at police.
Mohamed had reportedly come to the U.S. 10 years prior from a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya.
Most of the refugees in Utah are resettled there by Catholic Charities.
Rohingya Muslim refugee rapes, kills Christian refugee girl
In 2008 in Salt Lake City, a Rohingya Muslim from Burma named Esar Met was convicted of raping and murdering a fellow refugee – a 7-year-old Christian girl from Burma – in the apartment complex where a resettlement agency working for the U.S. State Department had placed him.
Met was sentenced to life in prison, where U.S. taxpayers will pick up the tab for his care.
Right after the murder in 2008, the Salt Lake Tribune discovered that Met lived in a separate part of the same refugee camp as did his victim – Hser Ner Moo.
“Burmese Muslims and Christians do not mix in their home country and no one should be expecting them to ‘melt’ into our American cultural stew either,” reported refugee watchdog Ann Corcoran.
Met clearly had mental health problems back in the camp and for that reason alone should never have been allowed entry into the U.S.
“So where is the highly touted ‘screening’ we are always told precedes a refugees arrival in America?” asks Corcoran.
Utah has received nearly 14,000 refugees from U.N. camps since 2002, with nearly 6,000 of those being from Muslim-majority countries. Exactly 2,996 have come from Somalia, according to the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.