Bakersfield Californian from Los Angeles Times
August 6, 2020
By Nardine Saad
Los Angeles – The Coptic Orthodox Church in the U.S., shaken by recent accusations of sexual abuse, has vowed to eradicate inappropriate behavior in its cloistered communities following the defrocking of a priest accused of pedophilia for decades.
The 2,000-year-old church, which was started in Egypt by the Apostle Mark and grew in the U.S. following a wave of immigration in the 1970s, is steeped in centuries-old traditions and rituals that define Christian Orthodoxy.
It is now contending with a new generation of activists among an estimated half-million Copts living in the U.S. in what is being described in the community as a “Coptic #MeToo” movement engrossing parishioners on social media.
The flashpoint started with Facebook and Instagram posts from Sally Zakhari, a 33-year-old Florida woman who said she was molested in Orlando, Florida, by Father Reweiss Aziz Khalil in the late 1990s. Zakhari wrote that she was molested at home after Khalil convinced her mother that she should start confession. She was 11 or 12.
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