The New York Times reported Oct. 20 on the case of Los Angeles Archdiocesan priest, Father Nicholas Assi. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released the following statement regarding the matter.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles takes allegations of misconduct by clergy seriously and follows strict policies to ensure full cooperation with law enforcement, that the matter is independently investigated by retired FBI investigators and reviewed by an independent Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board (CMOB), which includes a survivor of abuse, mental health practitioners and other lay experts. CMOB reviews the results of the police and internal investigations and makes final recommendations to the Archbishop regarding the matter. Announcements are made at the parishes where the priest has ministered.
The recent New York Times report concerning the 2014 allegation of misconduct against Father Nicholas Assi did not include the entirety of the steps taken by the Archdiocese according to the above policies by the Archdiocese, which included removing Father Assi from ministry pending a psychological assessment and the result of the police and internal investigations and the reviews by CMOB. These investigations and reviews found that no sexual assault had occurred; no charges were filed by law enforcement. Announcements about these outcomes were also made. Following are the steps taken by the Archdiocese regarding the allegation against Father Assi.
The Archdiocese received a report of alleged sexual misconduct involving Fr. Nicholas Assi by an adult female parishioner in April 2014, when he was serving at American Martyrs Parish in Manhattan Beach. The matter was reported to the police and Fr. Assi was removed from ministry pending the result of the police investigation. The Police investigated the allegation, and the District Attorney’s office declined to press any charges. Law enforcement informed the Archdiocese that the case was closed.
After cooperating with law enforcement and following all archdiocesan protocols, including the review by the Archdiocesan Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board, Fr. Assi was returned to ministry in 2015.
Announcements regarding the matter were distributed at all the parishes where Fr. Assi had served to inform the parish communities of the allegation and asking anyone with information concerning misconduct to come forward.
Announcements were also made when the investigation was concluded and he was returned to ministry. The Archdiocese did not receive any previous reports of misconduct prior to the 2014 allegation and has not received any other complaints against Fr. Assi since then.
Father Assi has since retired with faculties as a retired priest.
For more information on the reporting and abuse prevention policies of the Archdiocese, visit www.archla.org/protecting.