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Respiratory therapist allegedly fondled patients in Woodbury

Deportation to Somalia seems inevitable for a Muslim imam accused of sexual assaults that allegedly occurred in Woodbury. 

Abdi Elmy Hersy is living in Canada on refugee protection status, but the country began the deportation process after learning of the active warrant for his arrest in the U.S., according to CBC News out of Calgary.

Fred Fink Jr., criminal division chief at the Office of the Washington County Attorney, said Hersy's outstanding warrant stems from two assault allegations at hospitals in Woodbury.

Hersy denies the charges, according to CBC News.

Fink said that Washington County isn't going to seek extradition, a long and expensive process that might merely lead Hersy back to Canada.

"I would assume he would post bail," Fink said.

So Washington County's best move is to let Canada finish its proceedings.

"They're seeking to revoke his refugee status, which would send him back to Somalia," Fink said. "He's going to end up there sooner or later. Canada is going to do that for us, so we're just going to let them do that."



According to a 2007 Washington County complaint against Hersy:

A Woodbury police officer learned of complaints about a licensed respiratory therapist, Hersy, received by the Minnesota Department of Health.

A female patient, now 54, complained that the therapist had touched her in an inappropriate manner in November 2006 at Woodwinds Hospital, where Hersy worked since February 2006. The patient reported that the man had touched her breasts under her hospital gown without her consent. Behind closed doors and a pulled curtain, he was supposedly loosening the congestion in her lungs while giving a nebulizer treatment.

Other touching was involved, and the man returned the next day to tell the patient she had beautiful breasts and to make a sexual proposition to her.

In July 2006, the respiratory therapist had victimized a 61-year-old woman in the hospital, in a similar incident. 

He told the patient that she was beautiful and that he wanted to get under her gown to use his stethoscope to listen to breathing. He prepared for a nebulizer treatment, stating that the fondling was necessary for the treatment to work.

After the first incident, Hersy spoke to a police investigator, denying the charges but admitting he might've inadvertently touched her.

In November 2006, the investigator unsuccessfully attempted to contact Hersy, who left a voicemail indicating that he had "moved out of the country."

Hospital officials had interviewed Hersy after the second incident, which he denied.

The whereabouts of the defendant were unknown at the time of the complaint, although his address was listed as Toronto, Ontario.



Hersy, 54, lost his license in Minnesota. 

He reportedly lost his job in Canada after the charges -- two counts each of fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and criminal abuse -- became known to the Muslim Council of Calgary.

Hersy worked for Respiratory Home Care Solutions in Edmonton in 2007, but lost his license in Canada before completing a probationary period or having contact with any patients, according to CBC News.

Then, he ran the Abu Bakr Mussallah place of worship in Calgary, serving as a prominent voice in Calgary's Somali community.