A DOOR-to-door salesman has lost his job and been imprisoned after he indecently assaulted a young girl home alone.
Indian national Mohsin Hasanali Khoja, 27, appeared in the Whakatane District Court yesterday charged with the indecent assault of a 13-year-old girl.
On Sunday, April 7 Khoja had been going door-to-door in Opotiki selling electrical and household goods.
At around 6pm Khoja knocked on the victim’s front door, interrupting her shower. She was home alone and answered the door wearing only a towel.
Khoja asked the victim whether her parents were home and if she had a boyfriend. When she answered no to each question Khoja asked if he could be her boyfriend.
The victim stated to police that Khoja’s questioning made her feel uncomfortable, but she was afraid of what he might do if she did not answer.
She told him she could not be his girlfriend as she was only 13 and there was clearly a large age difference between them.
Khoja replied this did not matter and that she was now his girlfriend.
He then kissed the victim and attempted to place his tongue in her mouth. He then hugged her and attempted to kiss her again while touching her bottom.
Khoja then told the victim he loved her and left the home.
The victim immediately locked the front door and called a relative for help.
In her victim impact statement, read aloud in court by police prosecutor Bill Scott, the teenager said the offending had had a severe impact on her and her family.
She described feeling angry, scared and dirty and unclean. She had struggled at school and was considering seeing a counsellor.
Her mother had also suffered greatly and blamed herself for not being home at the time of the crime.
She had suffered a mental breakdown and was barely eating or sleeping.
The victim has since moved out of her mother’s home due to feeling unsafe as a result of the offending.
Defence lawyer David Pawson advocated for a discharge without conviction for his client.
Mr Pawson said a conviction would be hard on his client as he would most certainly be deported back to India where he would be ostracised for his actions.
Mr Pawson also noted his client had been under a strict curfew while on remand for the offending, had completed 40 hours’ voluntary community work with the Salvation Army Family Store and asked that he not be put on the child sex offender register.
Khoja addressed Judge David Cameron directly and said he was “very sorry” for his actions and wished to apologise to both the court and the victim.
However, Judge Cameron rejected the suggestion that a conviction would be unduly harsh for Khoja.
“This was very serious offending,” he said.
“The victim was young, vulnerable and home alone and there was skin on skin contact.
“It was a prolonged incident and has had a huge negative emotional affect upon the victim and her family.”
Judge Cameron noted that Khoja’s visa had already expired, and he was on a temporary limited visa due to expire on August 14 solely for the purposes of being able to attend court, so it was likely Khoja would be deported regardless of a conviction.
“You say if he were to be convicted it would make his life difficult in India but that is an ordinary consequence of this type of offending and is unremarkable,” said Judge Cameron.
Khoja was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment, was listed on the child sex offender registry and was given his first strike under the three-strike legislation.