Former church worker convicted in sexual assault case

PONTIAC, Michigan — A former church worker has been convicted in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a teenage altar boy at a suburban Detroit church.

Oakland County Circuit Court says 66-year-old Hurmiz Ishak was found guilty Thursday of one count of criminal sexual conduct and acquitted of two others. Sentencing is Sept. 27.

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argued there was a lack of evidence and said the allegations were fabricated.

Police say the boy’s parents reported alleged assaults last year to a priest at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy.

The St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy says church officials contacted authorities as soon as they were told. The church says Ishak served as a sacristan, opening and closing the church, as well as a subdeacon, assisting at services.

“As Bishop of St. Thomas Chaldean Eparchy, I am deeply saddened that this abuse took place, and furthermore that it happened on church grounds. I am truly pained by the horrific abuse and suffering inflicted on the victim and the families involved,” said Bishop Francis Y. Kalabat in a statement.

“I understand this has had a detrimental effect on our entire community. My prayers today are with all those who were impacted by this crisis and I ask for all of you to please pray for the peace and healing of both families involved,” he continued.

The bishop said that “as painful as this situation is,” he was pleased that “truth and justice” prevailed.

“I commend the brave efforts of the victim, the pastor, and associate pastors of St. Joseph Chaldean Church for immediately reporting the allegation to law enforcement. I also would like to thank the Troy Police Department, the prosecutor’s office, and all civil authorities for their diligent work on this case,” Kalabat said.

Crux staff contributed to this report.


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