State Liquor Authority Suspends Two Tonawanda Licenses

Emergency suspension after owner charged with sexual abuse of employee

Tom Puckett
May 18, 2017 - 11:41 am
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Tonawanda, NY (WBEN) The New York State Liquor Authority has issued emergency suspensions to two Tonawanda businesses operated by a man accused of pressuring an 18 year old employee to drink and sexual abuse.

Town of Tonawanda Police say they arrested Nasr Mohamed, the owner and licensee of Sheridan Liquor and the manager of the Sunoco on Sheridan, and charged him with sexual abuse, unlawfully dealing with a child, and prohibited sale of alcoholic beverages. Police say on April 7, Mohamed began pressuring a new 18 year old female employee to drink shots of liquor one hour prior to closing.  After becoming physically ill due to intoxication, investigators say the employee rushed to a back storage room where she began to vomit.  At that time, police say Mohamed followed the 18-year-old victim into the backroom and sexually assaulted her.  The victim fled the liquor store and was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital for treatment, where she reported the incident to police noting that she felt pressured to drink, as April 7th was her first day on the job.

Tonawanda PD reports this was not the first incident involving the licensee.  On August 27, 2016, police report another female employee drinking to the point of intoxication at the liquor store with the licensee. The employee subsequently lost consciousness, waking up the next morning in her backyard, and contacted police after discovering bruises indicative of a sexual assault.  On August 29th, police interviewed Mr. Mohamed and viewed surveillance video where the visibly intoxicated victim was observed drinking inside the liquor store with the licensee.  Video surveillance shows the licensee and victim departing the premises, which was corroborated by the licensee who admitted to driving the victim home.  A similar incident occurred on November 24, 2016 inside the liquor store; however the victim in this case refused to cooperate after calling police to report the assault.

“These reports allege a frightening pattern of deviant, dangerous, and disgusting behavior, including claims that the licensee’s employees were plied with alcohol and then sexually assaulted,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano.  “I want to thank the Town of Tonawanda Police and the Members of the State Liquor Authority for sending a strong message that this reprehensible behavior cannot, and will not, be tolerated.” 

On May 17, 2017, the SLA charged the Sheridan Liquor store with seven violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) laws, including improper conduct for the crime of sexual abuse in the 1st degree and unlawfully dealing with a minor, providing alcohol to an underage person, providing alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, and for allowing the consumption of alcohol inside the liquor store on August 28, 2016 and April 7, 2017.  The SLA also charged the adjoining grocery store, Sheridan Market, with four violations of the ABC law, including improper conduct by manager Nasr Mohamed, failure to conform to their approved application, and for using the trade name “Sunoco” without approval by the SLA. 

The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.  When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations.  In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension.  The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case.  The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.

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