Pottstown man, 79, guilty of indecent contact with child
NORRISTOWN » A 79-yearold Pottstown man has been convicted of having indecent contact with a 6-yearold girl at a borough playground.
Saif Fadil Azookari, of 200 block of King Street, was convicted in Montgomery County Court this week of a misdemeanor charge of indecent assault of a person less than 13 years old in connection with the April incident at South Evans and Cherry streets. Judge William R. Carpenter rendered the verdict after a non-jury trial at which Azookari stipulated to certain facts contained in an affidavit of probable cause filed by borough detectives.
Carpenter deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete a presentence investigation report. Azookari, who remains free on bail pending sentencing, faces a possible maximum sentence of 2½ to five years in prison on the charge. However, state sentencing guidelines could allow for a lesser sentence.
Azookari also faces an evaluation by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which will determine if he meets criteria under state law to be classified as a sexually violent predator. Those classified as predators face more stringent restrictions under state law, including community notification about their living arrangements.
An investigation of Azookari began about 2:30 p.m. April 14 when borough police responded to a playground area at South Evans and Cherry streets for a report of a suspicious male who had inappropriate contact with a little girl. The mother of the girl told police her daughter had been playing at the park with friends when she came home “crying and visibly upset,” according to the criminal complaint filed by Pottstown Detective Brooke Fisher.
The girl told her mother that a man at the playground had placed his hand down her pants and touched her inappropriately, according to court documents.
The girl later told detectives that Azookari had told her to sit with him and then touched her in an indecent manner at a bench in the park, according to the criminal complaint.
Another child at the playground witnessed the incident, court documents indicate.
When detectives questioned Azookari about the incident he claimed the girl sat on his lap and he noticed that her pants were down and he helped pull up her pants.
“Azookari denied that anything else happened and said that she was only on his lap for a couple seconds,” said Fisher, adding Azookari repeatedly described the child as “a beautiful girl.”
On several occasions during the investigation, Azookari called detectives to inquire about the status of the case and he uttered, “I’m sick, she should forget about it,” according to the arrest affidavit. On another occasion, Azookari told detectives he had $500 cash “and that he could give it to the mother to get rid of the case,” according to the criminal complaint.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Brittenburg. Azookari was represented by defense lawyer Joshua Rudolph.