From 2014 for Archive.
Iraqi refugee called monster gets life for sex trafficking

Steve Young12:51 a.m. CDT March 18, 2014

An Iraqi refugee who sold several women and girls for sex at his Sioux Falls apartment will spend the rest of his life in prison after U.S. District Court Judge Karen Schreier agreed with victims who called him a “monster.”

A jury convicted Mohammed Alaboudi in December on four counts of sex trafficking. His lawyer asked for the same 30-year sentence given last April to a co-conspirator, Emannuel Nyoun. But the judge noted that Nyoun had victimized just one young woman, while Alaboudi had hurt many, many more.

“I don’t think the two of you are comparable,” Schreier said. “You have been described by the victims as someone who is a monster. I do not think that is an unjustified characterization, based on how you treated the young women who came through your home.”

Four victims, identified only by their initials, recounted during Monday’s hearing the physical and sexual abuse against them at the hands of the 45-year-old Alaboudi. Earlier at trial, many of them had testified how he had given them drugs and shelter to lure them into dependency and prostitution, using his one-bedroom apartment in central Sioux Falls as headquarters for what U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson has called “a house of horrors.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner noted Alaboudi’s status as a refugee who was welcomed into the country and community, only to take advantage of that hospitality.

Alaboudi preyed on the vulnerability of his victims, many of them homeless with drug addictions and, in some case, mental health issues, Koliner said. The women, two of them underage, were kept high on drugs and alcohol while forced to engage in sex acts with strangers.
In arguing for 30 years, Alaboudi’s lawyer, Stacy Kooistra, said the average sentence for sex abuse in the district encompassing Sioux Falls is 11.5 years.

Koliner countered that “it’s hard to compare one parade of horrible against the next parade.” But he argued that the nature of the sex acts in this case had little to do with intercourse, but was more about women and girls forced to have sex “in the same disgusting bed ... too drugged out to do anything about it.”

The defendant, who purposely drugged the girls and raped them repeatedly, then allowed his cohorts to come in” and do the exact same thing, Koliner said.

One of the victims who testified Monday, a young woman named S.J., said Alaboudi would call them “worthless.” She said she was “used as a toy over and over.”

“I couldn’t clean myself enough; it didn’t work,” she said. “Me, at age 14, was locked in a room with a man I had never met before, and I was forced to have sex with him.”

Kooistra argued that his client had substantial health problems, including diabetes, and that he would be in his early 70s upon release, if granted a 30-year sentence and lived that long.

But in handing down the sentence — four concurrent life terms — Schreier said Alaboudi’s health issues didn’t deter him from committing his crimes.

“A lot of the victims said you treated them more like dogs,” the judge said. “I know that most people treat their dogs better than you treated these women.”

When asked through his Arabic translator whether he understood that he could appeal his sentence, Alaboudi launched into a tirade, blaming the FBI for bringing him to this moment.

“I’m an innocent man. I am not a liar,” he shouted in English. “Do whatever, one life (sentence) ... life, life, life. I don’t (care).”