A Texas judge has ordered a North Texas Muslim cleric to pay $2.55 million to a Muslim woman who says he groomed her for sex after counseling her for years when she was in her teens.
The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, filed a lawsuit in July 2018 against Imam Zia Ul-Haq Sheikh, claiming he had coerced her into sex with him after years of exploitation, including sexting and lurid video chat requests.
“We are thrilled at this outcome for Jane Doe,” said Amy Jones, head of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, who served as an expert witness for the plaintiff.
The judgment, a victory for advocates in the emerging Muslim #MeToo movement, covers mental anguish, punitive damages and the accuser’s legal fees.
Sheikh was hired in 2005 as head imam of the Islamic Center of Irving, one of the region’s biggest mosques, where he remained until his forced resignation in 2017.