03/09/2015 07:30 EDT | Updated 03/09/2015 07:59 EDT

Abdi Hersy, Calgary Imam, Denies U.S. Sex Assault Allegations

Abdi Hersy was stripped of his refugee status in 2013, but he successfully fought the decision.


A Calgary imam, who was granted refugee status in Canada, is denying allegations of sex assault in the United States.

Abdi Hersy, 46, is a high-profile imam who runs the Abu Bakr Mussallah place of worship in Calgary, and is often quoted as a representative of the Somali community in Calgary.

In 2006, Hersy was charged after allegations that came from his time working as a respiratory therapist in Woodbury, Minn., according to Global News.

Two women allege that Hersy groped them under their hospital gowns, saying it was part of the standard medical exam. One of the victims claimed that Hersy said he wanted to have sex with her, reported the Twin Cities News.

Ultimately, six charges were laid against Hersy, including four of criminal sexual conduct and two of criminal abuse, according to Global News.

This week, Hersy's lawyer, Raj Sharma, told CBC News that his client is "happy" to have the case heard in court, and that he didn't know about a warrant that was out for his arrest.

"The U.S. has never sought to extradite Mr. Hersy, and I can tell you that if any U.S. authorities were to ask Mr. Hersy to attend to have his day in court, Mr. Hersy would attend with bells on," Sharma said.

According to the outlet, Hersy was granted refugee status in Canada after his wife and son were killed during a rebel attack in Somalia 24 years ago. That status taken away from him in May 2013, but he successfully fought the decision, and is still living as a refugee.

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