Earlier this week, 42-year-old Mohamed El Fechtali was found guilty of attempted kidnapping/child enticement and accosting a child for immoral purposes in connection with a 2011 incident, according to Upper Michigan’s Source. El Fechtali pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to abduct a 12-year-old girl in Munising in November of 2011.
News reports claim that El Fechtali, a native of Montreal, Canada, was traveling back to Montreal from Saskatchewan following a job interview when he got turned around and asked the victim for directions. He then offered to take the little girl home. When accused of trying to entice the girl into his vehicle in order to have sex with her, El Fechtali said “That’s not true.” He went on to say that all he wanted was directions so that he could get back home. However, he did confess at a later date that he was attempting to get the girl into his car in order to have sex with her, but that confession was thrown out by a judge. He claims to have confessed out of fear of a beating from police. After returning to Canada, El Fechtali was brought back to the U.S. after the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the judge’s decision to throw out his confession.
During his trial, El Fechtali took the stand in his own defense, telling the jury that he did speak to the girl, but that he did not intend to kidnap her. The defendant said that he wanted to get home, did not know where he was, and was interested only in getting directions, not friendship.
The trial was held at Alger County Circuit Court. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
El Fechtali likely faces serious punishment when sentenced. In Michigan, accosting a child for immoral purpose is considered a Class F felony. Those convicted face fines of as much as $4,000, up to four years in prison, or both – this is for a first-time offender. Individuals who are found guilty of child enticement will also be required to register as sex offenders. Accosting or soliciting a child under the age of 16 for immoral purposes is a Tier II offense, which means those convicted will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
In cases such as the one above, it is difficult to know whether the accused has been convicted of a crime he or she is not guilty of. El Fechtali claimed he has never been in jail before, and that he was afraid of what police would do to him while he was being interrogated. Michigan criminal defense attorneys know how aggressive and intimidating police can be, and that suspects are often worn down, exhausted, and forced into admitting to crimes they did not commit.
Regardless of a person’s innocence or guilt, it is vital to consult with a skilled defense lawyer who is committed to getting to the truth, and obtaining positive results.