Coptic Orthodox Church defrocks priest over child sexual abuse claims

Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church has defrocked Reweiss Aziz Khalil, a priest of the Diocese of Minya and Abu Qurqas residing in the US, over claims of sexual assault.

A woman belonging to the Coptic Church in the US published a testimony about a sexual assault against her during childhood when Reweiss allegedly visited her family at the time.

After the church investigated the complaints against Khalil and testimonies on social media, it decided to strip him of his rank and returned him to his pre-ordination name of Yousef Aziz Khalil.

Tawadros, in a letter directed to churches in the US, said: “After reviewing the records of the recent investigation related to Reweiss Aziz Khalil…and after taking into consideration the prior decrees defrocking him for his repeated infringements that are unacceptable to the Priesthood and its ministry, we have decided in addition to our previous decree dated Feb 26, 2014 defrocking him from all ministry in the Coptic Orthodox Church, effective immediately, he is hereby laicized and must return to his former pre-ordination name of Yousef Aziz Khalil. He is hereby stripped of his priestly rank.”

“By this decree, we notify all the civic authorities in Egypt and in the United States of America to revoke any recognition of Yousef Aziz Khalil as a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church,” the letter added.

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