MA - Convicted priest is back in church
- Convicted priest is back in church
- He just finished jail term for assault
- Victims want him to have no parish roles
- Group wants him ousted immediately & permanently
- SNAP: “Forgiving criminal doesn’t mean endangering others”
- In sharply worded letter, group blasts “bare minimum” approach
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will
--disclose that a Worcester-area priest is still in active ministry despite a recent criminal conviction,
--urge his church supervisors to immediately and permanently oust him, and
--prod anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.
Monday, September 24 at 1 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Worcester District Court House, 225 Main Street (corner of Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) in Worcester, MA
Three victims of sexual abuse and their supporters who are members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org)
In May 2011, the pastor of St. George Antiochian Church in Worcester, Fr. Charles M. Abdelahad, was found guilty of physically assaulting a female parishioner during counseling sessions. Despite this conviction, Abdelahad has recently been at St. George Antiochian Church in Norwood and St. John of Damascus Orthodox in Dedham, singing in the choir in collar and cassock, reliable sources have told SNAP.
The Most Rev. Philip Saliba, the metropolitan of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, is Abdelahad’s supervisor. Last month, Saliba’s spokesman refused to say whether Abdelahad would be reinstated to full pastoral duties. SNAP fears that, over time, he will be. Such a move, the group feels, will put other vulnerable adults at risk and which will add to the severe suffering his victim has already experienced.
A statement of facts on file in court said Abdelahad beat the woman on several occasions dating back to 2007.
The priest allegedly bit and beat the victim during at least one assault. Detectives also allege he struck her with a religious icon and bat, and scratched her on the stomach with keys.
In a criminal complaint, Detective Maureen M. Siedlecki accused Rev. Abdelahad of pulling the victim’s hair, slamming her head on the floor, sitting on her and punching her in the head during one of the alleged attacks.
Rev. Abdelahad allegedly bit the victim on her shoulders, underarms, thighs, legs, back, breasts, lips and jowls, the detective wrote.
He also allegedly struck her with a replica wooden bat on her legs and knees along with hitting her on the head with a religious icon.
The rape charge stems from an alleged assault in which the priest forced the victim up against a wall, rubbed her inappropriately and sexually assaulted her, according to court records.
The priest is 56 years old. His victim is in her 40s. She now lives in Rutland MA.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.