SARANAC LAKE: A snowshoe racer from India who competed last weekend at the World Snowshoe Championships in New York after initially struggling to obtain a visa is accused of sexually abusing a local girl.
Police say 24-year-old Tanveer Hussain, of Kashmir, also is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Saranac Lake Village police Sgt. Casey Reardon tells the Adirondack Daily Enterprise the girl and her parents reported the abuse to police. Police say the assault happened Monday in the village in the Adirondack Mountains.
In a statement issued Thursday, police said the charges stem from Hussain "engaging in a passionate kiss" with a 12-year-old victim. There is no accusation of force, and no other allegations were made.
Hussain was in jail Thursday on $5,000 cash bail. His attorney entered a not-guilty plea for him.
The attorney, Brian Barrett, says because of the limited communications he's had with Hussain, he hasn't been able to properly evaluate the case.
Hussain and Abid Khan, president of the Snowshoe Federation of India, initially ran into a roadblock trying to travel to the races. Their initial visa applications were denied around the same time President Donald Trump issued an order barring travel into the U.S. from seven countries, even though India was not one of those countries.
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau reached out to U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for help, and seventh-graders from Saranac Lake Middle School wrote letters to the senators on behalf of the two Muslim men. They were allowed to resubmit their applications, the visas were approved, and the two men arrived in Saranac Lake on Feb. 23.
Hussain and Khan spoke to the middle schoolers Feb. 24, showed them videos of Kashmir and its winter recreation, and received some of the biggest cheers at opening ceremonies.