U.S. could have done more to end Qatar nightmare, Matt Huang says

Upon return from Qatar ordeal, father cleared in daughter's death says U.S. could have done more

Matt Huang, in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired on Monday, said that he was sexually assaulted in a Qatar prison during the nearly two-year battle he and his wife had to clear their names in the death of their daughter.

"I was physically and sexually assaulted," Huang said. "Another inmate tried to rape me." Huang said he fought back.

Huang also said that the U.S. government did not do enough to secure the couple's release.

"The U.S. government could have done a lot more, a lot quicker," he said.

The couple was convicted of charges related to the death of their daughter Gloria, 8, in a case that highlighted cultural differences in a conservative Gulf state, where multiracial families are rare. The Huangs' three adopted children were all born in Africa.

The couple was initially convicted despite a botched autopsy and without prosecutors sharing any evidence with the defendants. The Huangs say Gloria died from an eating disorder complicated by the childhood hunger she suffered in her native Ghana.

Huang and his wife Grace returned home to Pasadena last week. In the interview, the Huangs spoke about reuniting with their two sons, Emanuel, 12, and Josiah, 7.

Their return came after they were initially prevented from leaving Qatar even though they were escorted to the airport by the U.S. envoy.

The closely watched case drew high-level expressions of concern from the Obama administration, with Secretary of State John F. Kerry appealing directly to the Qatar government to let the couple leave after they were exonerated.

Being in legal limbo cost Matt Huang, an engineer sent to Qatar to help with building new infrastructure for the country’s 2022 World Cup, his job and mounting legal bills eventually forced the couple to sell their San Gabriel Valley home to pay off debts. Matt Huang told CBS he plans to sue his former employer for failing to adequately represent him.

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FOR THE RECORD
Dec. 8, 12:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said Matt Huang was working on new infrastructure for Qatar's 2025 World Cup. The World Cup will be in 2022.
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The Huangs were greeted by a standing ovation at their Pasadena church on Sunday.

Times staff writers Anh Do and Laura King contributed to this report.

Twitter: @juliewestfall

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

12:30 p.m.: This article was updated to add the names and ages of Matt and Grace Huang's two sons.

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