CA-–Sex offender returned to ministry by Antiochian Orthodox Church
Bishop pleaded guilty to groping a woman in a Michigan casino in 2004
Cleric spent time in jail and was on the sex offender registry
Retired after his conviction, the head of the Antiochians recently appointed him to lead the Diocese of Los Angeles
A victims’ group condemns this action, calling it “unbelievable, dangerous and callous”
Holding signs and childhood photos, sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold a press conference outside the cathedral of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West to:
-- publicize the recent appointment of Bishop Demetri Matta Khoury to assist Metropolitan Joseph G. Al-Zehlaoui in the administration of the diocese,
-- provide information about Khoury’s 2003 arrest, and subsequent 2004 conviction and sentence, and
-- blast the Church for making such a misguided decision and placing women and girls at risk.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at 11:30 am.
Outside Saint Nicholas Cathedral, 2300 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles (cross street, South Grand View Street)
Two or more sex abuse victims and their supporters who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Metropolitan Joseph G. Al-Zehlaoui, recently appointed Bishop Demetri Matta Khoury to assist him in the administration of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West. The appointment effectively made the retired bishop Al-Zehlaoui’s auxiliary.
Khoury was allowed to retire after a February 25, 2004, conviction for attempted fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. The bishop pleaded guilty to grabbing a woman’s breast in a Michigan casino. According to newspaper accounts, Khoury said that he had no memory of the incident, but made his plea based on his viewing of the casino security tapes.
Khoury was sentenced to 28 days in jail and required to register as a sex offender.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, have condemned the appointment of Khoury to lead the diocese. Joelle Casteix, SNAP’s Southern California Director, characterized the action as “unbelievable, dangerous and callous.”
Casteix acknowledged that Khoury had petitioned the Michigan court in 2014 to set aside his conviction and to lift the registry requirement. Those motions both were granted over the objections of the district attorney's office.
However, the SNAP Director added, “The bishop may have been relieved of that obligation, but it doesn’t change what he did, or the fact that he admitted his crime. The women and girls in the Antiochian community, as well as in the public, may be at risk. People need to be informed about his background.”
The Diocese of Los Angeles has parishes in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington in the United States. In addition, it has churches in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan in Canada.
Khoury was originally charged with fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct. Although the charges only involved one woman, the police report indicated that the bishop was publicly groping the woman who accompanied him as well.
This is not the first time the Antiochians have attempted to return Khoury to active ministry. While he was still a registered sex offender, Khoury was named as the auxiliary bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese of Mexico.
The appointment evoked outrage in the Antiochian community in this country, and the bishop was ultimately “re-retired.”
The headquarters of the archdiocese is in Englewood, New Jersey. The website is:
Michigan District Attorneys
Contact:Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, [email protected]), Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175, [email protected]), David Clohessy (314-566-9790, [email protected])