A 39-year-old Syrian Muslim refugee is facing six counts of sexual assault and sexual interference after six girls alleged that he touched them inappropriately at a water park. Soleiman Hajj Soleiman, a father of six, was arrested at West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on February 4.
The girls reported the assaults to lifeguards at the recreation facility, who in turn notified police. Officers alleged that Soleiman pursued and inappropriately touched the six girls while they were swimming. The park features waterslides and an extensive wave pool. EPS spokesman Scott Pattison said of the incident, “It’s fairly shocking,” while adding that it "traumatized six individuals and their families.” All of the girls are under the age of 16. He told Global News "The girls were very courageous in coming forward and talking to the lifeguard, that’s not always the case.”
Police arrested Soleiman at the scene and took him into custody.
The Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA) had booked the waterpark on the evening of February 4. Soleiman is not a a member of NASA. There were other people not associated with NASA at the park at the time of the incident.
Police believe there may be other complainants. They are encouraging the public to come forward with any complaints. Pattison said that any resulting allegations will be investigated discreetly. The Edmonton Police Service Zebra Child Protection Section has taken over the investigation.
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