Snowshoe athlete to face child sexual abuse charges

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) An elite snowshoe athlete from overseas will be arraigned Friday, accused of sexually abusing a young girl. Our Melissa Sheketoff shows us what led to the charges.

Feb. 25, athletes from around the globe came to the U.S. to race in the United States' first World Snowshoe Championships in Saranac Lake, New York.

"Nationals have existed in the United States for the last 20 years or so, and we've never had the world championships here," race director Jim Tucker said in February.

After qualifying as a racer in India, Tanveer Hussain was set to come to Saranac Lake to compete. That is until President Trump's travel ban went into effect. Even though India is not included in the countries banned, Hussain and his coach were denied visas. Saranac Lake Village Trustee Richard Shapiro and other community members rallied to get the decision reversed and let him compete.

"The question that they had was, did he have enough ties to his community that he was going to go home as opposed to try and immigrate here," Shapiro said in March.

And with help from Saranac Lake's mayor and Sen. Chuck Schumer's office, it happened. Hussain landed Feb. 23.

Police arrested Hussain March 1 for allegedly kissing and touching a 12-year-old girl. He was offered a plea deal in court March 7 and rejected it.

"There's no substantial evidence against him. There actually is, I think, more evidence showing his innocence," Shapiro said.

A grand jury indicted the 25-year-old earlier this week on charges of sexually abusing a child. Hussain is due in Essex County court at 2 p.m. Friday.

If convicted of the charges, Hussain could face 2-7 years behind bars.