Dubai: An engineer has been accused of groping a schoolgirl repeatedly at a mall while she was with her friends, a court heard on Tuesday.

Records said an Egyptian man received a phone call from his daughter in April asking him to come to her aid at once because someone had touched her indecently. The father rushed to the mall to comfort his child and, when he arrived, he discovered that the security had already been alerted and police were present at the scene.

The girl, who was crying inconsolably, confided in her father that she was busy chatting with her friends when someone repeatedly groped her from behind. Records said that when the girl and her friends called the mall’s security guards, the latter noticed that a man who was standing nearby panicked and tried to walk away.

The guards suspected that he must have been the one who touched the girl indecently and restrained him until the police came to the location.

Police identified the man as a 25-year-old engineer.

Prosecutors charged the Pakistani suspect of repeatedly groping the girl, whose age was not disclosed in records.

The suspect pleaded guilty when he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Tuesday.

His lawyer argued before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal: “My client has admitted to the police and prosecutors that he committed a wrongdoing and groped the girl. He is a young person and this is the first time he has committed such a mistake, which he regrets. We ask the court to treat him with utmost leniency.”

The father told prosecutors that when he reached the mall, he saw that the police had already apprehended the suspect. “My daughter told me that she felt embarrassed and scared when the suspect groped her while she was busy with her friends. She also told me that she hid behind a pillar for a while and when, she went back to her friends, they called the security; then the suspect, who happened to be standing nearby, panicked and tried to run away,” he testified.

A policeman testified before prosecutors that when he questioned that suspect, he admitted to groping the girl three to four times.

A ruling will be heard on July 29.