Local News

Landlord accused of fondling tenants' children commits suicide

Posted August 29, 2011 10:24 a.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2011 11:28 a.m. EDT

— A registered Raleigh sex offender committed suicide Monday morning, a few hours before he was scheduled to be in court on charges that he fondled children, according to the Wake County district attorney's office.

Michael Assaad Lahoud was expected to plead guilty to eight counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor, according to prosecutor Melanie Shekita. He was facing an 8- to 10-year sentence, she said.

Lahoud, who had been out of jail on a $1.5 million bond since October 2008, was found dead in a car on Harps Mill Road, police said.

Authorities arrested Lahoud in September 2008 and charged him with fondling his tenant's children.

According to a Sept. 11, 2008, search warrant for his home, investigators spoke to four people who claimed Lahoud either fondled them or forced them to touch him on as many as five occasions. The allegations occurred when the victims were as young as 7 years old.

According to the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry, Lahoud was convicted in February 2002 of one count of taking indecent liberties with a minor and sentenced to probation for a year.

In December 2004, he was convicted on three counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor (dating to March 1992, July 1998 and June 2002) and was sentenced to two years' probation.

Court records also indicate Lahoud was arrested in November 1994 on an indecent liberties with a child charge, but it was dismissed in 1996.