A California prosecutor has been placed on paid leave and an internal probe has been launched after he allegedly dangled his 13-year-old daughter as bait to reel in a suspected sexual predator.
The unidentified lawman, described by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office as a “veteran DA,” allegedly put the child in the clutches of a suspected molester in an attempt to get him to "perform incriminating acts" on video, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
Ali Lajmiri, 76, has been arrested and charged for false imprisonment and lewd and lascivious acts on a minor under the age of 14 years.
An investigation into the alleged sexual assault was opened on Oct. 8, one day after the prosecutor’s daughter told her doctor that she had been victimized.
Lajmiri had allegedly approached the prosecutor’s daughter five times between the August and September months while she was walking a dog along the Los Alamitos Trail in San Jose, according to a released San Jose Police Department summary of the incident.
“Each time, the suspect approached the victim and engaged in conversation about her dog,” police said. “The last three incidents resulted in the subject inappropriately touching the victim.”
In early November, the prosecutor apparently pursued his daughter's alleged attacker by taking a picture of a man clad in a tracksuit who matched the description of her assailant, according to a police report cited by The San Jose Mercury News.
Days later, the child’s mother also spotted a man fitting a similar description and trailed him to his home a couple of blocks away. She submitted the address to the police.
By Nov. 11, a follow-up investigation was launched by police detectives and a warrant issued after the prosecutor father reportedly supplied police with recorded video evidence capturing his daughter walking back and forth on the trail as Lajmiri allegedly placed his hands on her waist and grabbed her to prevent her from straying, according to The San Jose Mercury.
The victim told investigators during an interview that Lajmiri “leaned in for a kiss on her mouth” before going in for a kiss on the forehead.
It all had allegedly been part of the father's plan, however; he reportedly told police he and the victim had specifically organized for her to walk along the trail to lure out Lajmiri while he kept in touch with her via cell phone, according to the outlet.
He even stated he and the daughter "had already done this several times" and he encouraged her to let the man touch her and only leave if he started groping her, police said.
Lajmiri, meanwhile, allegedly categorized any moments where he touched the girl as “a sign of affection as a fatherly figure,” according to the police report detailed by the publication.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is investigating and also summoned the state’s Attorney General’s Office to help determine if the actions of the prosecutor father, who has since been placed on paid leave, warrant criminal child endangerment charges, according to the publication.
“We have recused ourselves from the handling of any filing decision and prosecution of any matters related to this situation,” Assistant District Attorney Terry Harman said in a statement to the newspaper.
In a staff memo shared with Oxygen.com, District Attorney Jeff Rosen informed staffers that the “matter involving the actions of one of our prosecutors and the arrest of a man for sexually assaulting the prosecutor’s daughter” was swiftly being investigated.
“The moment we became aware of this matter, we took immediate action, referring it to the Attorney General’s Office and initiating our own internal review,” the memo reads. “These reviews require us to be careful about releasing information that could damage the integrity of both.”
Rosen also stressed in the memo that despite the public scrutiny into the case, nobody should forget that “at the heart of this matter is a young victim.”
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