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A district judge Wednesday sent an Iraqi man to prison for sexually abusing two young girls in Lincoln.

Tarik Mohammed, 44, denied the allegations that he sexually touched two sisters, one when she was 10 or 11, the other on her 14th birthday.

But a Lancaster County jury found him guilty of two counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child at trial in February.

“It was a pattern of behavior that went unchecked for a very long time and caused great harm,” District Judge Jodi Nelson said Wednesday before giving Mohammed six to 10 years in prison, at the top end of the 10-year max.

She called it a violation of trust at the highest level and not the kind of crime appropriate for probation.

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At trial, one of the girls testified she was 10 or 11, in fifth grade, when he called her to a bedroom to read an email in English, then pulled her closer, took off her shirt and touched her. He covered her mouth with his hand, she said.

She didn't tell anyone until Oct. 31, 2015, when she started crying because she didn't want to go to his house and told an older sister he had touched her in bad ways.

That day, another of her sisters said he had touched her inappropriately, too, on her 14th birthday.

Police arrested Mohammed, and prosecutors charged him with two counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child, which led to a trial that started Feb. 6.

There, jurors heard from the two girls and two others who said Mohammed had raped them, one in Iraq, the other in Syria. Because it didn't happen here, he couldn’t be charged on those allegations, but the judge ruled the jury could hear about them.

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