Cleric denies new charges of sexually abusing student

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago Islamic scholar has pleaded not guilty to new charges that he sexually abused a teenage student more than a decade ago.

Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, founder of the Institute of Islamic Education in Elgin, entered the plea Wednesday to charges he sexually abused a student between 2001 and 2003 when she was 14-16.

The Daily Herald in Arlington Heights reports the former student accuses the 76-year-old Saleem of abusing her 15 to 20 times. Prosecutors say she moved from Illinois in 2003, but came forward several months ago after learning authorities were investigating charges that Saleem abused a 22-year-old female office worker.

Illinois law allows the prosecution of sexual abuse cases involving minor accusers to begin within 20 years of the accuser’s 18th birthday.