Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church defrocks priest abroad over sexual abuse allegations

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Jul 2020

The priest was defrocked following investigations into complaints by church-goers in Upper Egypt, the US, and Canada

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church has defrocked a priest abroad over sexual abuse allegations, the Church said in a statement on Saturday.

According to the statement, the Church decided to defrock Coptic priest Rewies Aziz Khalil to his non-monastic name Youssef Aziz Khalil following investigations into "posts on social media and complaints to the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of Minya and Abu Qirqas from church-goers in the Upper Egyptian village and in the United States and Canada."

The decision by the Church comes days after social media posts went viral accusing Khalil of being a "pedophile" during his service abroad in the US and other regions.

Egypt has been intensifying efforts against sexual harassment amid an ongoing investigation by the prosecutor-general into allegations of rape, sexual harassment and blackmail made by dozens of women and girls against a young man, Ahmed Bassam Zaki.

The controversial case has pushed the cabinet to approve earlier this month a bill proposed by the justice ministry to keep the identity of victims of sexual assault and harassment confidential.

According to the draft law, the identities of the victims of sexual crimes are not to be publicly disclosed, and can only be revealed to the court and defendants upon request. 

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