A Maplewood business owner whose shop hosts a weekend religious studies class for children is accused of repeatedly molesting two 7-year-old students, charges say.
Akeem A. Lamina, 51, of St. Paul, is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct related to separate allegations of abuse over the past three months. In each case, young girls later told police that Lamina forced them to watch pornography on his phone before touching them in his office, according to the criminal complaint.
Lamina owns and operates an African grocery store called 2 Ajibola Trading, in the 2000 block of E. Minnehaha Avenue in Maplewood, with his wife. On Saturday afternoons, the property hosts an informal class, where 10 to 15 children of various ages gather to learn Arabic and study the Qur'an, said Maplewood police Lt. Daniel Busack. Lamina does not teach the class, but he works nearby.
According to the charges:
In November, a kindergarten student confided in a school employee that a man named "Daddy Alim" had molested her several times. The 7-year-old girl, who had been attending classes at Lamina's store for two years, reported that the suspect brought her into his office and shut the door before showing her "disgusting videos."
During a police interview, the child's mother remembered a previous incident six months prior when she found her daughter alone in Lamina's office with the door closed. As she knocked and entered, she recalled Lamina flipping his cellphone face down so she couldn't see the screen.
Last month, St. Paul police began investigating a similar incident.
Another 7-year-old girl disclosed that Lamina had taken her to his office and exposed himself. A follow-up examination at the Midwest Children's Resource Center uncovered several other alleged assaults at his home and office, charges say, where he sometimes made her watch pornography.
Lamina does not appear to have a criminal record beyond minor traffic violations. He could not be reached for comment.
Authorities suspect other children may have been victimized and ask anyone with information to call 651-291-1111 to speak with an investigator.