Deacon Convicted of Abuse in Michigan, SNAP Applauds Survivor
A deacon in Michigan has just been convicted of sexually abusing a teenage boy. We hope that this sentence will bring comfort to his victims and will encourage others with information to come forward and make a report to police and the state attorney general.
According to the Royal Oak Tribune, Hurmiz Ishak worked at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church as a subdeacon and used his position of influence in the church to groom and abuse a teenage boy in 2017 and 2018. Now that he has been convicted, we hope that he is given the maximum possible sentence despite his advanced age. Children and communities are safer when abusers are kept in jail and, as this case demonstrates, age does not deter abusers from acting on their urges.
It is uncommon for survivors of sexual abuse to come forward so soon after their abuse and we applaud the survivor in this case for his bravery. By coming forward now, he has helped ensure that no other child could be hurt by Ishak. We hope that this survivor’s bravery will inspire others who may be suffering in silence to come forward and report their abuse to local law enforcement and to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
A.G. Nessel has been investigating clergy abuse for the past year and during her time in office there have been at least seven child abusers arrested and charged due to her team’s dedicated efforts. We hope this case will encourage others to make reports to her investigation and help keep other dangerous men away from children and vulnerable adults.
Now that Ishak has been convicted, we believe it is the duty of Bishop Francis Kalabat of St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy to reach out to parishioners in his church, inform them of the news, and urge other victims, witnesses or whistleblowers to find the strength to come forward. And we call on him to take the same steps as Roman Catholic church officials and to release a list of clergy, deacons, and other church staff who have abused others.
Informed communities are safer communities and when information about abusers is made public, parents can better protect their children. We hope that Bishop Kalabat will take this step to inform his flock immediately.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)