May 10, 2006

Parishioners Defend Priest

The Hartford Courant

May 10, 2006
By DANIEL E. GOREN, HILDA MUŅOZ, And DON STACOM Courant Staff Writers NEW BRITAIN -- Clara Semerdjian rushed in her car through the rain to the home of her parish priest and friend of more than a decade.

Semerdjian had come to check on Krikoris Keshishian, 53, the longtime priest at St. Stephen's Apostolic Armenian Church on Tremont Street, who was arrested Tuesday on charges that he molested a 12-year-old girl.

Word spread quickly in the tightly knit Armenian community that their patriarch had been accused of a terrible crime. The church's parishioners quickly rallied behind their pastor, protesting the charges and wondering if he was being framed. They said their church, regardless of what happens in the courts, will be devastated.

Police said Keshishian, of 21 Garry Drive in New Britain, inappropriately touched the girl while acting in his official capacity. He is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and impairing the morals of child by sexual contact. He was released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to be arraigned in New Britain on May 23. Fourth-degree sexual assault is a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison.

Posted by kshaw at May 10, 2006 05:22 AM