Religious Ritual Trial Involving Imam Under Way


DES MOINES, Iowa —The mother of a teen who reported being sexually assaulted during a religious ritual is on the witness stand Wednesday.

Johnston police said the mother and her 18-year-old daughter both reported being assaulted by Nermin Spahic, 41, during a counseling session at their home last August.

Spahic denies the assault. He was charged with third-degree sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation by clergy.

The mother talked on the witness stand about the life struggles her daughter was having that brought them to Johnston to get help from the religious leader.

She is also discussing the timeline of what happened the night the sexual assault was reported to police.

She talked about going thought the ritual herself, how Spahic put oil on her and rubbed her.  She also talked about when police arrived at the scene.

Look for updates on this developing story on, KCCI-TV and on our mobile website and apps.

During opening statements Tuesday morning, the prosecution said Spahic has admitted to participating in the religious ritual involving the rubbing of oil on the body.

Prosecutors said the woman brought her daughter to Spahic because of daughter's depression and hurting herself.  They said during the counseling session he would eventually reach under the girls shirt and inappropriately touch her and eventually sexually assault her with his fingers.

Prosecutors said Spahic did the same thing to the mother.

The defense attorney said this is a case of he said, she said.  The attorney said in Bosnian Muslim culture the Imam lays hands on the person he is praying for.

If convicted, Spahic faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

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