Tutor 'abused girl at Koran lessons'

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A Muslim tutor fondled a young girl as she read the Koran to him, a court heard today.

Yusuf Mangera, 52, is accused of indecently assaulting the girl, now a married woman, over a period of around two years in the late-1970s to early-1980s.

Leicester Crown Court heard the woman only reported the accusations to police last year.

Mangera, of St Barnabas Road, Leicester, denies six counts of indecent assault. The court heard the six charges were representative of many more alleged occasions of abuse.

Steven Coupland, prosecuting, said Mangera was employed as a Hafiz - or tutor - visiting the family home after the girl's father decided he wanted his children to learn to read the Koran.

He said: "When she and her brothers and sister were growing up it was her father's wish that she should be educated and be taught the Koran.

"He employed Yusuf Mangera from the mosque to come to the house and teach her and her younger brother the Koran."

He said it was on these occasions, when the younger brother was dismissed from the room, that the tutor - then in his 20s - fondled the girl.

"No doubt he thought that because of his position and because of her age, either that she wouldn't tell what he was doing to her, or that she wouldn't be believed.

"What he set about doing was something contrary to every rule and every instruction he was teaching her from the Koran."

He said the girl originally told her older sister and mother but was not believed.

A few years later, when she found out her father was planning teaching for her younger sister, she told him but the matter was buried within the family, the court heard.

Mr Coupland said the woman told her husband about the abuse, and later told a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist.

She decided to report the matter after undergoing IVF treatment with her husband and qualifying as a counsellor, the court heard.

Today the woman, who gave evidence behind screens, told the court the abuse started when Mangera touched her knee underneath the Koran as she read to him.

She said her younger brother, who took lessons with her, would often get bored quickly and be dismissed from the room.

"I was reading, I had the Koran in my lap and he put his hand under and placed it on my knee," she told the court.

"I was shocked. In that kind of cultural environment it's not appropriate for an unrelated member of the opposite sex to make physical contact. From a certain age physical contact between members of the opposite sex just doesn't happen."

Weeping, the woman told the court she tried to prevent the abuse continuing by wearing tight clothes and trying to avoid lessons.

But the fondling continued, and Mangera's actions progressed to touching her under her clothes and eventually under her underwear, she claimed.

She said after around the 10th time she told her mother, but was told not to be "daft".

The woman finally told her father when she realised he planned to hire the same tutor to teach her younger sister.

She told the court: "I was about 15, he commented that my younger sister who was about nine or 10, he said that she couldn't read the Koran very well either and he wanted her to have lessons as well.

"He said he was going to bring that same Hafiz back to teach her."

The court heard when the woman reported the abuse to police last year, she did not remember the tutor's name.

But Mr Coupland said after her father bumped into him in a local bakery, he took his name and passed it to officers, who arrested the tutor.

The woman today said she had been left anxious about being put under general anaesthetic for her IVF treatment because of what happened to her as a child.

She told the court: "I went to the police because of the thought that I might be creating a child and that I had a responsibility.

"Also at that time I qualified as a counsellor and was working at a medical practice where some of the people who came to see me had been abused as children.

"There was one particular person who had been awfully, awfully abused as a child and she wouldn't have been able to cope with reporting it and I remember after that session thinking, 'what's your excuse?'.

"I had a duty. I thought there must be others, people who abuse don't abuse one person and so I had to do something."

The court heard Mangera, who appeared in court with an interpreter, denies all the charges and said it never happened.

Mr Coupland told the jury: "There really are only two options in this case. One is that she has come to court to tell the truth, or that she is quite deliberately, simply and wickedly, making it all up for some other motive."