Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent Muslim sexual abuse cleric jailed

Mohammed Hanif Khan
Image caption Mohammed Hanif Khan was "treated like a god" by boys in his care

A Muslim cleric who sexually assaulted two boys at a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent has been sentenced to 16 years in jail.

Mohammed Hanif Khan, 42, had denied charges of rape, attempted rape and sexual activity with a child.

A jury at Nottingham Crown Court found Khan, of Owler Lane, Sheffield, guilty of two counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child.

The offences took place at the mosque on Capper Street between July and October 2009.

Khan, who was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court, was told he will serve a minimum term of eight years.

'Like the Queen'

He had been the UK's first full-time Islamic minister at Dovegate Prison, near Uttoxeter.

During sentencing judge Mrs Justice Dobbs revealed he had resigned from this post over allegations he sexually harassed three female members of staff.

That showed Khan was a serious risk to the public, she said.

Justice Dobbs told Khan: "You were the imam and not only were you the boys' teacher you were the boys' guide.

"You were taken into the hearts of the community and treated like a god.

"One of the boys described you as being so big you were like the Queen.

"Your actions have had a significant effect on the community. The boys have been reviled by the community for bringing shame on the community."

'Suicidal thoughts'

Khan will be on the sex offenders' register for life and subject to a sex offenders' protection order.

During the trial prosecutor Tariq Bin Shakoor told the court one of the boys was often singled out by Khan after evening prayers.

The other boy was assaulted when he was an overnight guest at Khan's house, the jury heard.

Following the verdict on 1 February the family of one of Khan's victims said the boy isolated himself from friends and family and even wanted to end his life.

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