LOWELL, MA (WHDH) - A man is behind bars after he allegedly inappropriately touched a 13-year-old girl in Lowell.
Police said it happened at a state-run swimming pool.
Emad Hasso, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee, was back in court for a pre-trial hearing Friday.
The teen told police while she was at Raymond Lord Memorial Pool, Hasso approached her, touched her upper leg and asked her age.
She said she told him she was too young for him and walked away.
Hasso then allegedly began to follow the girl around the pool, and then approached her again when she was swimming. She said he touched her thigh for the second time, and that’s when she told him she was a little kid and to leave her alone.
A lifeguard and other people who saw some of what happened managed to intervene.
Hasso was arrested and charged with indecent assault, but he denies ever speaking to or touching the teen. He did admit he may have accidentally bumped into the girl while swimming.
Hasso has only been in the U.S. two months, and was assisted by the International Institute of New England, a nonprofit that offers resources and assistance to refugees. They refused comment citing a confidentiality agreement.
In a statement the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees state pools, said:
We remain committed to the safety and security of our visitors, and work closely with our partners in local and state law enforcement.
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