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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2004

Bishop jailed for grabbing woman

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Bishop Demetri Khoury of Toledo Bishop Demetri Khoury of Toledo
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Bishop Demetri Khoury of Toledo, who oversees eight states for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, was sentenced yesterday in Grand Traverse County Circuit Court in Traverse City, Mich., to 28 days in jail and fined for an assault last year in which he was accused of groping a woman's breast.

Khoury, 56, began serving his sentence yesterday in the county jail, a spokesman in the clerk of courts office said. He pleaded guilty in February to one count of attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony.

He could have received a year in jail and a $500 fine. Circuit Judge Philip Rogers sentenced him to 28 days in jail but credited him with two days served and placed him on probation for two years. He was fined $200, although he was assessed costs in excess of $800.

His guilty plea to a reduced charge just before he was to stand trial reduced his potential jail time by a year and meant his sentence would be served in the local jail, not Michigan's prison system. A misdemeanor charge was dismissed.

Khoury was charged initially with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for the July 9, 2003, incident in which he grabbed the breast of a North Carolina woman seated next to him at a slot machine in the Turtle Creek Casino outside Traverse City.

He was highly intoxicated, and

the entire incident was captured on the casino's security surveillance system, authorities said.

In his role as bishop of the Antiochian archdiocese of North America, he oversees about 45 churches in the Midwest region of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ontario.

Those churches include St. George Cathedral on Woodley Road and St. Elias on Harroun Road in Sylvania.

Officials at the archdiocesan headquarters in Englewood, N.J., suspended the bishop from his duties and from performing religious rites or liturgies pending the outcome of his case.

The archdiocese took no further action so as not to interfere with court proceedings, said the Rev. George Kevorkian, hierarchical assistant for the archdiocese. A canonical committee has studied the matter and soon will make a recommendation to the synod of bishops, Father George said.

Khoury is a native of Ramallah in the West Bank. He was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop March 12, 1995.



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