A Florida man convicted of sexually abusing and trying to marry his 12-year-old niece was sentenced last week to 37 years in prison.
In January, a federal jury found Mirza Afzal Hussain, 56, guilty of aggravated identity theft, document fraud, and enticing a minor. Hussain, an immigrant from Pakistan, had abused the tween and treated her as his spouse in front of her family and his wife—who eventually left him, according to WTVT.
Hussain let his sister, brother-in-law and two nieces live with him in Brandon in 2010 after they won an immigration lottery in Bangladesh and moved to the United States. Prosecutors said the family was initially dependent on Hussain for transportation and housing, claiming they were “culturally isolated, had no jobs, [and had] little money,” according to the Miami Tribune.
The victim’s parents contacted authorities in January 2012 after discovering sexual messages and photos sent between Hussain and the niece. Authorities discovered more sexually explicit correspondence upon seizing the cell phones.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Hussain’s relatives had moved out in early 2012 and Hussain had sent the tween messages “professing his love for her and his intention to marry her, discussing sex with her, soliciting naked photographs from her, and asking her to masturbate for him.”
Authorities also said Hussain pushed his niece to falsify reports stating her parents were abusing her.
“Hussain did not simply lure his niece into a brief romantic and sexual encounter,” prosecutors said prior to sentencing, calling Hussain an “aggressive child predator.”
“He poisoned her mind, isolated her by turning her against her parents, and brainwashed her into believing that he and she were in love and destined to marry.”
Not only did prosecutors say Hussain “manipulated her into falsifying reports claiming that her parents were abusing her,” they accused him of traveling to Bangladesh in November 2012 to get a falsified birth certificate for his niece which stated she was three years older. From there, he used the birth certificate to get the girl a Legal Permanent Resident Card reflecting her new age.
With a new birth certificate, Hussain then went to his niece’s home and attempted to take her away from her parents. Prosecutors said he presented the falsified Legal Permanent Resident Card as proof that she was an adult.
According to the Tribune, the abused niece wrote in her victim impact letter that she believed Hussain would’ve abused her younger sister if they hadn’t left his home. The victim’s younger sister was 5 or 6 when they moved in with Hussain in 2010.
“This criminal put his own agenda first, hurting his own family. He thought he could get away with his despicable behavior by lying and blaming others for his actions,” Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero said in a statement.
“His family can feel safe knowing justice has been served.”
[Featured image: Mirza Afzal Hussain/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)]