Plea deal in Maine arson case; poor Somali language translation dooms prosecution

This is an update of our post earlier this month, here, about the then 12-year old admitted arsonist in Lewiston, Maine (the Somali capital of New England!).

Lewiston, Maine May 4, 2013: Displaced residents of Bartlett St. fire. When ‘Welcoming America’ promotes those economic studies about how refugees bring economic benefits to communities, do they factor in the cost of criminal activity? Photo:

From WMTW.TV (notice no mention here of the word “Somali” in the text).  Hat tip: ‘Pungentpeppers’

LEWISTON, Maine —The last of the criminal cases involving a string of arsons in Lewiston nearly two years ago has been resolved.

On Monday, a 14-year-old Lewiston boy was convicted of one count of aggravated criminal mischief, a felony, in connection with the May 3, 2013, fire that destroyed several apartment buildings in downtown Lewiston that displaced dozens of people.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop four counts of arson against the boy, who was 12 at the time of his arrest.

The boy will be sent to a juvenile detention facility for an undetermined amount of time, up to the age of 17.

Prosecutors said because of language issues, they were not confident they would be able to prove their case against the boy.  [“Welcoming” communities, pay attention!  The cost of qualified interpreters falls on local and state government.—ed]

Prosecutors did ask the judge to levy a penalty of $58,000 on the Somali family, but the judge dismissed that crazy idea saying where the heck would they ever get that much money (not exactly in those words!).

Another article at Insurance News Net gives us a much more thorough review of the case and makes the following point.  Keep in mind that Abdi Ibrahim will be out of the juvenile facility in 3 short years!

Charges against Ibrahim stem from fires that burned four apartment buildings and a garage on Bartlett and Pierce streets in Lewiston on May 3, 2013. According to a forensic psychology report, Ibrahim is considered a moderate arson risk to the community in the future. That same report concluded the teen presents a higher behavioral and social risk because of a history of poor social skills and chronic behavior problems in multiple settings, including assaulting others and running away, according to court records.

That reference to assaulting people and running away reminded me of this story we reported from Lewiston, Maine in December 2009 where ‘youths’ were doing just that, was little Abdi Ibrahim among them?

By the way, some of you have asked where is the father?  He lives in Lewiston too!  I bet he has another wife tucked away!  From a 2013 story at the Bangor Daily News:

Ibrahim lives with his mother, Marian Ibrahim, according to court papers. His father, Yussef Abdi, lives at a separate address in Lewiston.

 For our VERY extensive archive on Lewiston, click here.

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