Tanveer Hussain taken into police custody after 12-year-old girl claims he kissed and groped her.
An Indian athlete who required help from U.S. lawmakers to overcome a visa denial in order to compete in the World Snowshoe Championships has been arrested for an alleged sex assault, reports said on Friday.
Tanveer Hussain, 24, has been charged with sexual abuse and child endangerment by police in the mountain village of Saranac Lake, New York, after a 12-year-old girl claimed he kissed and groped her, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported.
The incident allegedly took place on Monday when the two were alone after playing pool at a hotel where Hussain had been staying.
Hussain competed in the 8km event, finishing 114th overall, 94th among men and 17th among 20 in his age group in 45:23.28.
Police Sergeant Casey Reardon said the girl and her parents reported the alleged incident to police and Hussain was charged and arrested after a complaint was filed.
Abid Khan, manager for India’s snowshoe team, told the Enterprise that Hussain denied the charges, describing the accuser as a “a nutcase.”
“He said there was no contact at all,” Khan told the newspaper. “She tried to come. I pushed her back. After that, he said he came back toward us and told her to go back home.” But Reardon told the newspaper there was enough evidence for probable cause. Sexual abuse is a felony while endangerment of a child is a misdemeanor.
“We’re confident in our investigation and the results of it,” he said. “There were other witnesses. Social media was involved. There’s evidence that supports the charges.”
Hussain remains in Essex County Jail awaiting a Monday hearing. A plea of innocent was entered by a public defender but not accepted by judge Sheridan Swinyer because he was uncertain if Hussain understood the charges.
The two were celebrities at the event after the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi last month denied their visa applications. But Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who had met them at last year’s showshoe worlds in Italy and invited them to his town, sought and received help from New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who contacted the embassy, which later granted the men visas.
The moves came as U.S. President Donald Trump had issued an order barring U.S. entry to people from seven countries, not including India.