Father Alex Hazzouri
Diocese of Scranton (Society of St. John)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Alex Hazzouri:
Fr. Alex Hazzouri was ordained a the priest of the Society of St. John in 1957, and served in the Diocese of Scranton. According to media reports, in 2002, a woman filed suit against the Diocese of Scranton, Villa St. Joseph and Father Hazzouri for inappropriate touching when she was a minor. In August 1996, the female victim, then 14 years old, began working as a dining room and kitchen server at Villa St. Joseph. As part of her duties, she would wait on tables, serving food to the retired priests.
She alleged that a few months after beginning her job, Hazzouri, a retired priest residing at Villa St. Joseph, began inappropriately touching her when she was waiting on his table. In approximately May or June of 1997, the victim informed her supervisor, Annette Balint, about the alleged touching. By the time she told her parents about the priest’s alleged actions in July 1997, Balint had spoken with the rector at Villa St. Joseph, Bishop John M Dougherty.
Balint and Bishop Dougherty subsequently spoke with the victim’s co-workers and Hazzouri, all of whom denied any inappropriate behavior had occurred. Based on the investigation, Bishop Dougherty recommended to the victim that she simply not serve Hazzouri’s table anymore and reassured her parents that steps were being taken to ensure that she was safe.
Once the victim stopped serving the priest, the alleged touching ceased, even after she voluntarily resumed serving the priest’s table some months later.
In December 1997, the victim informed her parents that she again felt intimidated by Hazzouri due to the fact that he had approached her and told her that he was worried about what she had stated about him.
The victim’s mother subsequently met with Bishop Dougherty to express her concerns about her daughter’s safety. During the course of this meeting, Bishop Dougherty suggested that if the child was not comfortable working at Villa St. Joseph, she could resign. The victim resigned her position and later filed a lawsuit against the Diocese. The suit was dismissed on summary judgment in 2005.
Hazzouri died in 2018 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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