Las Vegas Sun

September 14, 2014

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Refugee accused of sexually assaulting 3 young relatives

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Kalunga Kanyela

A 37-year-old African refugee has been charged in connection with sexually assaulting three young relatives after his wife walked in on him allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old girl and reported it to police.

Kalunga Kanyela is charged with three counts of sexual assault, four counts of lewdness with a victim under 14 and one count of open and gross lewdness.

Metro Police arrested him June 12 after his wife asked a friend to report that her husband had been sexually assaulting the girl.

His wife told officers she walked into the living room of their house near Maryland Parkway and Twain Avenue on June 11 and saw her husband push the girl off him. She said she thought something inappropriate was going on because he allegedly molested the girl when they lived in Africa.

According to the arrest report, the girl told her mother that Kanyela had touched her genitals prior to her walking into the room. She also said Kanyela had forced her to have sex with him on another occasion.

Kanyela begged his wife not to tell anyone. He said he would never do it again, the report said. She then called a friend who contacted police.

Investigators said Kanyela denied touching the three girls at first, but then said he touched the 10-year-old on her stomach and chest. He told officers he didn't know it was wrong in the United States because it is allowed in Africa.

He said he would write a letter to the girls apologizing to them for what he did, but later said he couldn’t do it, the report said. He agreed to write a letter to the court to explain what he did, police said.

The girl was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where police officers and Swahili interpreters made contact with the family, who are refugees from the Congo region of Africa. They have lived in the U.S. since November 2009.

The girl told officers Kanyela forced her to have sex with him and that the abuse was common when they lived in Africa. She said it had occurred at least five times before, the report said.

Police also interviewed the other two alleged victims. A 15-year-old girl told police Kanyela had sexually assaulted her numerous times in Africa and that he had touched her breasts earlier in the day, then she pushed his hands away, police said.

Hospital officials also confirmed that a 6-year-old had been a victim of sexual abuse.

He is being held in the Clark County Detention Center. His bail was set at $75,000.

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