Cary man gets probation after plea to sex offenses
Posted October 27, 2009 10:57 a.m. EDT
Updated October 27, 2009 6:51 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The former owner of an Apex sports facility has pleaded guilty to charges involving sex offenses against children.
Richard James Ahmed, of 210 Michelangelo Way in Cary, was charged last year with felony indecent liberties with children and felony soliciting a child by computer.
A judge on Tuesday accepted a plea to those charges and sentenced Ahmed to 60 months' supervised probation and five weekends in jail.
Also under the terms of his sentence, he must register as a sex offender, and he is not allowed to have contact with a child under 16 without another adult present.
Prosecutors said a psychosexual evaluation found Ahmed not to be a risk to the public.
"I realize I made a mistake," Ahmed said in court Tuesday.
Accompanied by his wife and two adult daughters, he kept his head low as Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita outlined the details of the case.
Raleigh police arrested Ahmed in February 2008, when he showed up at Laurel Hills Park to meet with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl whom he met in an Internet chat room.
Ahmed told police he wanted to lecture the girl about meeting people online, Shekita said.
The two chatted 18 times online and talked seven times on the phone within a month. Most of the conversations were about meeting, the supposed teen's sexual history and what she wanted to learn.
"It was very concerning to the Raleigh Police Department that – because he worked with children and was surrounded by children – there may be other victims out there," Shekita said. "There were no actual child victims they could determine."
Ahmed co-owned Dream Sports Center in Apex, which offers facilities for basketball, roller hockey, soccer, lacrosse, baseball and other sports and hosts camps and clinics for children ages 5 and up.
The sports center severed ties with Ahmed last September and reopened under new ownership.
Although there were no allegations that Ahmed acted inappropriately with children at the facility, the complex instituted safety measures designed to protect its young clientele.
"No one has stepped forward with a hint or suggestion of any improper behavior with those children, and they have had 20 months to do that," Smith's attorney, Roger Smith said.