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Karim Elkorany, Ex-U.N. Official, Is Accused of Sexual Assault


One day in the fall of 2016, Karim Elkorany, an official with the United Nations in Iraq, dined and had drinks with a woman in a restaurant, then furtively drugged her in his apartment, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Then, they said, Mr. Elkorany sexually assaulted the woman. She regained consciousness for brief periods when she could see him attacking her, but she was physically unable to stop him, the authorities said.

Mr. Elkorany’s conduct was not isolated, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Between 2009 and 2016, Mr. Elkorany sexually assaulted or tried to sexually assault at least six women in Iraq, Egypt and the United States, among other locations, the indictment said.

In each instance, it said, he drugged the victim, rendering her unconscious or partially unconscious.

The indictment said that in some cases, victims awoke in pain where they had been assaulted or found that some or all of their clothing had been removed. Mr. Elkorany told some of them that they had had sex.

Mr. Elkorany, 37, of West Orange, N.J., was not charged with sexual assault; rather, he was charged with two counts of lying during questioning by the F.B.I. in 2017.

“Elkorany compounded his alleged unconscionable conduct by making false statements to the special agents investigating the assaults,” said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

The indictment said Mr. Elkorany falsely denied to the agents the allegations made against him by the woman in Iraq.

William F. Sweeney Jr., the head of the F.B.I. in New York, said the investigation was continuing and encouraged anyone with information about the case to contact the bureau.

Mr. Elkorany was arrested early Wednesday and appeared before a federal magistrate judge, where he pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Dawn M. Cardi, said in an interview that Mr. Elkorany “absolutely is going to fight these charges, without a doubt.”

After the woman in Iraq reported the alleged attack to the U.N. in 2016, the organization initiated an investigation, according to the indictment. Mr. Elkorany resigned in 2018.

Mr. Elkorany worked in international aid, development and foreign relations positions for the U.N. from about 2005 until 2018, including with UNICEF, the indictment said.

Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, said in an email that the United Nations had initially referred the allegations about Mr. Elkorany to the U.S. authorities. Since then, he said, the organization has “cooperated extensively” with the investigation.

He added that the U.N. “appreciates actions by member states to ensure that United Nations personnel who may have engaged in criminal conduct are held accountable, in particular with respect to criminal allegations relating to sexual exploitation and abuse.”


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