Kent County

Fleeing danger in Pakistan, refugee is victimized in Walker

Barton Deiters -

WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) -- Instead of finding safety in the United States when she fled Afghanistan, a teenage girl found herself victimized by the foster father who was supposed to protect her.

24 Hour News 8 is not naming the victim of the criminal sexual conduct, but a document from the United Nations Refugee Agency tells her story.

She was born in poverty in Afghanistan and lived as a refugee in Pakistan, when around age 12 was promised to marry a 70-year-old man by her abusive father.

She fled the home and wound up in the Benazir Bhutto Center for Women in Islamabad where eventually she was sent to the U.S. via Bethany Christian Services.

She believed she was safe.

But she wound up at the upscale home of 42-year-old Nathan Chad Bosma.

On Sept. 19, he will be sentenced in a Grand Rapids courtroom after he pleaded no contest earlier this month to two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct as a foster parent.

He was originally charged in January with eight counts of criminal sexual conduct that could have put him in prison for 15 years. The plea agreement he entered keeps him out of prison with a county jail sentence as the maximum.

Her new foster mom, an attorney who also cares for another foreign foster child, says the sentence is not just.

"I know what he did, I know what he confessed to and I think that's a slap on the wrist," the mom said.

The girl said after she came to the Bosma's Walker home in 2014, he sexually assaulted her, once as they prayed in her bedroom.

"To put her in this Christian home with this Christian family with these Christian values, it was just all hypocrisy," the foster mom said.

When agencies like Bethany Christian Services send refugee children to homes, there is screening done of the families and the host homes know about the background of the children they house.

Bosma's defense was that she was the one who initiated the contact and they also argued that because of a lack of birth records, it was impossible to prove she was a minor at the time of the alleged incidents and contends she was at least 18.

She claimed to be 15 or 16, with limited English and formal education.

"I don't care how old they say she was, she was a child, I know, emotionally," she said. "She was being accused of being inappropriate and being sexual promiscuous. She was always very appropriate. She is a beautiful child."

At home, the girl faced the potential of a so-called "honor killing." The males in her family allegedly believed the girl's actions disgraced the family, according to the UN report.

"Her brothers and her father wanted her to be killed," the foster mom said.


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