Suspected St. Louis Hills sexual predator accused by third child | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

“How did he get away with this for so long?” one neighborhood resident asked.

ST. LOUIS — A child younger than 12 years old has come forward accusing a man of sexually assaulting him. It’s the third sexual assault the man has been accused of in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.

A St. Louis grand jury indicted Haji Gul Osmani this week on two additional charges stemming from an attack that police say happened sometime between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2022, in the 3900 block of Donovan Avenue – just two blocks from where his alleged final known attack occurred in July. 

The grand jury also indicted Osmani on the four charges connected to the first two alleged victims, who came forward in July. Those victims include a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old boy.

The third victim came forward right around the time police released surveillance photos of Osmani to the public, but it took police a few more months to build the case around him, St. Louis Police Sgt. Charles Wall said.

“This is an individual that we know at this point has victimized three separate children, so if there’s anybody else that that has been a victim from the suspect, investigators want to talk to them,” Wall said. “It’s my understanding, this investigation, because it did go back a longer period of time, that there was some more investigative work that needed to be done on our end.”

The new charges include first-degree statutory sodomy and misdemeanor assault. Police Osmani simulated a sex act by rubbing his body against the victim, which was a “substantial step toward the commission of the offense of statutory sodomy in the first degree,” according to court documents.

“The suspect was already in custody at that time or was quickly apprehended, and then the additional charges were just presented to the grand jury, which isn’t uncommon any time that somebody is already confined,” Wall said.

Osmani also allegedly tried to cause physical pain to the victim by pushing him, which resulted in the misdemeanor charge, according to court documents. He has remained behind bars since his arrest on July 28.

Osmani, 34, has lived in St. Louis since December 2021 when he arrived from Afghanistan with his wife and four children. There have been multiple court delays due to scheduling conflicts with the only two certified interpreters who speak Pashto.

Police said Osmani snatched a 6-year-old boy with special needs from his bike in an alley behind his home and sexually assaulted him. That attack allegedly occurred at about 5 p.m. July 23, a Sunday afternoon when multiple people were outside doing yardwork in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.

Osmani is also charged with assaulting a 12-year-old boy the week before, who told police Osmani put him in a headlock while he was playing at Francis Park, but he got away from him.

Wall said tips from the community helped get Osmani identified quickly.

“That neighborhood at the time that this occurred, there was a lot of communication between neighbors, between friends, families, and ultimately, I think that’s what led to the additional victims coming forward, both the publicity that the case received as well as how close that neighborhood is,” Wall said.

St. Louis Hills residents like Laura Ackermann say the neighborhood is stunned by news of a third victim dating to a year ago.

“How did he get away with this for so long?” she said. “We’re a pretty vigilant neighborhood but apparently not quite enough.

“We have to make sure our children know to yell for help, to holler if they feel threatened. We need to tell them what to look for and we ourselves have to pay more attention.”

Ackermann said she admires the courage of the victims who have come forward so far, as well as the strength their parents and guardians must have to help them.

It takes a lot it takes a lot of inner strength to come forward, especially if you’ve been keeping it to yourself for such a long time,” she said. “I have nothing but praise for people who make the decision to stand up for themselves.

“It’s what we all have to do. We all have to speak up.”

Osmani’s private attorney, Ellsworth Ware, told the court during a bond reduction hearing in August his client’s youngest child is 1 year old. He said members of Osmani’s family would be willing to give the court their passports so Osmani could be placed on house arrest while waiting for his trial, but he remains in jail in an isolated cell.

Anyone with information can call the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Division at 314-444-5385, or to leave information anonymously call Crimestoppers at 866-371-8477.

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