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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Enticement, harassment charges dropped against foreign military officers

  • Two foreign military officers who were training at Fort Leonard Wood and charged in October of last year with enticement of a child and harassment had their charges dropped, Pulaski County Prosecuting attorney Kevin Hillman said Friday.
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  • Two foreign military officers who were training at Fort Leonard Wood and charged in October of last year with enticement of a child and harassment had their charges dropped, Pulaski County Prosecuting attorney Kevin Hillman said Friday.
    "The victim's family and I discussed the situation, and they did not want her to go through the further traumatization of two trials," Hillman said.
    The two foreign officers charged were Mohammed Mahmoud Omar Mefleh, of Jordan, and Antoine Chela, of Lebanon.
    Hillman said the pair had the charges dropped as part of an agreement which required them to remain in jail for 90 days and pay for their incarceration costs, which were over $3,000 each.
    "Right after the charges were dropped, the men were taken by Fort Leonard Wood officials and have to leave the country within 10 days. I expect them to be gone by Monday," Hillman said.
    "They can have no contact with minors and will not be allowed back in the country. The Department of Homeland Security will be tracking and monitoring the men until they leave the country."
    Hillman said dropping the charges was a tough call to make.
    "This was a very difficult decision," he said. "But the family did not want their daughter to be re-traumatizd, and I have to take that into consideration. If the men were convicted, the Missouri Department of Corrections could have deported them right after. It was not worth further ruining the young girl's life."
    Hillman said Mefleh, who arrived in the U.S. in April 2013, was at the fort for the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Captains Career Course. Chela, arriving in October, was training at the fort for the Engineering Captains Career Course.
    According to court records, the two men allegedly approached the young girl, 12, at a bus stop in October 2013 and asked the girl to enter their vehicle.
    Later, the men later allegedly showed up at the front door of the girl's home and asked her to unlock it.
    When the men left the residence, the girl got the attention of a passing fire truck and reported what happened.
    Roughly half an hour later after the girl reported the incident, Mefleh and Chela were arrested.
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