Late at night on Dec. 5, 2016, the respected imam of one of the biggest mosques in Texas allegedly invited an 18-year-old to a prepaid room at the Motel 6 in Grand Prairie.
The young woman, identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit she filed in July of this year, said she agreed to go to the motel because the man, Zia Ul-Haq Sheikh, was a trusted spiritual guide who'd counseled her since she was 13. He was privy to her biggest teenage problems — an absentee father, discord with her mother, bullies at school.
The lawsuit depicts a man who was more like a savior or a Svengali than a counselor, using his power over Doe to make her dependent on him. He helped her buy a car and loaned her cash for tuition and a laptop. He helped Doe navigate a turbulent home life and essentially stepped in as a father figure. She even began calling the imam Baba, Arabic for Dad.