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'Witch Doctor' Who Offered 'Spiritual Cleansing' Sentenced to Life in Prison for Raping Woman During Ritual

The Gwinnett District Attorney's Office announced that Hassan Shalgheen, 45, was found guilty of rape, false imprisonment, theft by deception, sexual battery, and battery

<p>Duluth Police Department</p> Hassan Shalgheen

Duluth Police Department

Hassan Shalgheen

A Georgia "witch doctor" has been sentenced to life in prison nearly 13 months after police say he sexually assaulted a woman during a "ritual."

The Gwinnett District Attorney's Office announced that Hassan Shalgheen, 45, was found guilty of rape, false imprisonment, theft by taking, sexual battery, and battery.

His trial began on Feb. 26 and ended on Tuesday morning after over a day-long deliberation by the jury, per 11Alive.

According to the news site, the woman visited Shalgheen at his apartment on Feb. 5, 2023, to receive a "spiritual cleansing" through a "ritual." The two communicated via social media, and Shalgheen charged $1,500 for the cleansing.

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<p>Duluth Police Department</p> Stock image of a court gavel

Duluth Police Department

Stock image of a court gavel

Per Atlanta News First, the woman agreed to pay a $200 deposit and said she would send the rest of the funds through installment payments over 30 days.

After being told that the ritual would take three hours, the woman was given a white nightgown to wear. The woman allegedly saw a handgun when entering the home and reluctantly agreed to change.

It is after she changed that Shalgheen "forced himself on her and sexually assaulted and raped her twice," per 11Alive.

Although Shalgheen allegedly refused to let her go, he eventually let her get dressed and asked her to send him an additional $300, per the Atlanta News First.

After sending him the money, the woman left the home and reported the incident to the Duluth Police Department. The officers obtained a search warrant for Shalgheen's apartment and found evidence linking him to the incident.

<p>Duluth Police Department</p> Hassan Shalgheen

Duluth Police Department

Hassan Shalgheen

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Following his arrest, the media picked up the incident, and four women contacted police to report similar encounters that they had with Shalgheen. Two of them testified during his trial, per the outlet.

Gwinnett District Attorney Patsy Austin-Gatson spoke out after Shalgheen's conviction in a statement shared with WAGA-TV.

"Victims should not have to feel like they are alone when dealing with this type of crime," his statement read. "We encourage people who have experienced such heinous crimes to come forward and we will get justice. We thank the team that worked on this case, and we thank the jury for returning a conviction."

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PEOPLE contacted the Gwinnett District Attorney's Office and Duluth Police Department but did not immediately hear back.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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