A Carbon County jury found an Easton man not guilty of two counts of indecent assault following a two day trial this week in the county court.
Mohammad Nawaz, 59, was charged by Summit Hill police for an incident on Aug. 22, 2009, at the Ludlow Park. Police accused Nawaz of inappropriately touching the breasts of two middle/high school age girls.
The trial began on Tuesday with the two girls testifying that they were walking together and entering the park when Nawaz, who was seated on a bench, got up and hugged them. After he hugged them he touched their breasts.
Nawaz is a native of Pakistan who can not speak or understand English. An interpreter was present during the entire trial and jury selection to translate what was happening for Nawaz to understand.
He took the witness stand and denied ever touching the young girls inappropriately. He said his religion forbids touching a woman in that on almost any manner that is not appropriate. Nawaz was living with relatives in the borough at the time but since moved to Easton.
Testimony also revealed that there have been past incidents with Nawaz and teenagers in the borough. Atty. Michael Gough, who represented Nawaz, presented evidence that teens in the borough would confront Nawaz and yell things at him because he was not an American and did not speak English.
When questioned by Gough, the girls admitted knowing Nawaz by sight by seeing him walking and riding a bicycle around the borough but had no other relationship with him.
Two male teens, who said they were at the park on the day of the incident, testified at the trial.
Gough, in his questioning of the girls, asked if they ever observed any male teen "mooning" Nawaz or females pulling up their shirts and exposing their breasts to him. Both denied ever seeing such incidents.
Nawaz's wife, who was present at the park, also testified stating her husband did not touch the females as testified and that he had respect for women.
The trial was before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic. The jury started deliberating just before noon Wednesday and returned with their verdict about 1:50 p.m. Assistant District Attorney William E. McDonald prosecuted the case and the charges were filed by Officer Brett M. Hannon.