Rochester, N.Y. --- Friday evening a few dozen members of the community rallied at the corner of Genesee and Frost Streets where a popular restaurant named MoJoe’s has done business for more than a decade.
Last month Taha Alashwal, 34, was indicted on charges that accuse him of raping a 14 year-old boy. Authorities and court records state that Alashwal befriended the boy who lived near MoJoe’s, hired him to work at the store, and then took him to a Henrietta hotel in June where the alleged crimes took place.
"Hopefully this effort can help spark the community to empower themselves and take a stance on it so all of us collectively can make sure this won't happen ever again,” said Amen Ptah an organizer of the protest and boycott.
Alashwal also faces similar charges in Onondaga County for alleged crimes that occurred in 2006. Alashwal owns a restaurant in the Syracuse area and at the time of his arrest in Monroe County authorities, and even Alashwal’s own lawyer, referred to him as the owner of the MoJoe’s in Rochester.
While a spokesman for the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office described Alashwal as a “partial owner” of MoJoe’s on Friday the actual owner showed 13WHAM News numerous documents and identification that appear to place the business in his hands.
The owner did not want to be interviewed but explained that Alashwal was suspended last week and is not currently working at the store anymore. He said Alashwal deserves his day in court but hopes the community sees that MoJoe’s was not involved in the alleged criminal acts.