A prosecutor in Santa Clara County, California, is under scrutiny for allegedly using his 13-year-old daughter to bait a man who is alleged to have molested her, according to police documents, reported The Mercury News.
The suspect, 76-year-old Ali Mohammad Lajmiri, is now in custody, but the prosecutor’s alleged method of catching the suspect is being called into question.
Lajmiri has been arrested and charged for lewd acts and false imprisonment of a minor under the age of 14, according to a San Jose Police Department press release. He will be represented by a public defender, according to Benjamin Rada, of the public affairs office for the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
The molestation was part of an active police investigation at the time before the prosecutor is alleged to have interfered. According to the media release, Lajmiri reportedly approached the victim on five different occasions while she was walking her dog on the Los Alamitos Trail in San Jose. He is alleged to have inappropriately touched her during their last three encounters.
After the police department asked for the public’s help identifying the man, the prosecutor allegedly took his daughter back to the scene and instructed her to walk back and forth on the trail until Lajmiri approached her. They stayed in contact with their cellphones and earbuds, as per the police report provided to The Mercury News.
"He stated that they had already done this several times," San Jose Detective Sgt. Sean Pierce wrote in the police report.
"He directed (the victim) to let (the suspect) touch her if she encountered him, but if it was the breast or between the legs to move away. He instructed (the victim) to let (the suspect) identify and make the contact and if she cannot handle things she should move away. He instructed (the victim) to walk back and forth on the designated route and don’t interact with anyone for very long," Pierce wrote in the report.
"That’s a tremendous amount of pressure to put on a teenager and potentially traumatize her. This could endanger their daughter and jeopardize the investigation. This could lead to unintended consequences that can hamper instead of help his efforts," civil rights attorney and child advocate Areva Martin told ABC News.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the matter or on the prosecutor’s actions, but released a statement saying, "As in all cases of sexual assault, our hearts go out to the victim and her family," Assistant District Attorney Terry Harman said in the statement. "We have recused ourselves from the handling of any filing decision and prosecution of any matters related to this situation."
Lajmiri is being held in the Santa Clara County jail on $3 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 29.