Sunday, March 30, 2008

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

(Gay Muslim) Substitute teacher from Somalia charged with sexual misconduct
The Kansas City Star
A Leavenworth substitute teacher accused of unlawful sexual relationships with high school students is a Somalian refugee in the United States under political asylum, officials said Thursday.
Mohamed A. Dirshe, 26, has been charged in Leavenworth County District Court with three counts of unlawful sexual relations and three counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes, which are all felonies.
Dirshe is accused of inviting two 16-year-old male students to his home and giving them alcohol. He then allegedly had sexual relations with them while they were under the influence, said Leavenworth’s interim Police chief, Patrick Kitchens.
The incidents, which allegedly occurred between Oct. 19 and Dec. 30, involved students from Immaculata High School and Leavenworth High School. Dirshe also had been a substitute teacher for one day at West Middle School and at New Beginnings, a special education facility, according to a school official.
Word of the charges surprised people who knew Dirshe when he attended the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth.
Dirshe, who graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, also played on the men’s basketball team. He attended the school on a scholarship, said Bob Uhlar, a public relations specialist for the university.
Dirshe was well-liked by other students, though he was kind of quiet.
Those who knew him said there was no indication that he was capable of this type of behavior, Uhlar said.
Dirshe has a remarkable story, Uhlar said.
At the age of 9, he witnessed the murder of his father, uncle and older brother outside his home in Somalia by militia men from a rival clan, according to an article in the winter 2005 edition of Aspire, the university’s alumni magazine.
In 1996, when he was 14, his mother forced him to flee to Kenya, according to the article.
“I was getting older and the chance of me getting hurt or getting killed was high,” he told a reporter for Aspire. “My mom didn’t want that.”
Dirshe lived there as a refugee for a couple of years before his uncle made arrangements for him to flee to the United States.
Police first became aware of the alleged incidents when officials from the Catholic school system alerted them. Dirshe was arrested March 17 and remained in Leavenworth County Jail on Thursday on a $100,000 bond.
His next court appearance is today.
Officials with the Leavenworth Regional Catholic Schools could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Police are investigating whether there were more victims.


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