Former Virginia priest convicted of 1985 sex assault on teen

Associated Press [New York NY]

December 12, 2022

By AP News staff

A former priest in northern Virginia pleaded guilty Monday to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy more than 35 years ago.

Scott Asalone, 65, the former priest at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, pleaded to a single count of felony carnal knowledge of a minor. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in April.

The victim in the case is former D.C. Council member David Grosso, who publicly identified himself as Asalone’s victim when the charges were filed in 2020.

Grosso, in a phone interview Monday, said he wrote a letter in 1992 to Asalone, and the priest responded by admitting his misconduct.

Grosso said the letter served as evidence to convict Asalone in a case that stretched back 37 years, to 1985.

“I love the fact that justice never stops in Virginia,” Grosso said.

Asalone, who now lives in Asbury Park, New Jersey, was removed from public duties in 1993 by the Catholic Church and dismissed from the Order of Capuchin Friars in 2007. The diocese said he served at the Purcellville parish from 1984 to 1993.

His guilty plea came in the form of an Alford plea, in which he does not formally admit guilt but acknowledges that the state has sufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt.

Asalone’s attorney, Barry Coburn, declined comment Monday.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington named Asalone on its list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The list was published in 2019, after then-Attorney General Mark Herring launched an investigation of priest abuse, which continues under his successor, Jason Miyares.

“Every victim deserves to be heard,” Miyares said in a written statement. “Virginia has no tolerance for child molesters. I encourage anyone who has been a victim of clergy abuse to contact the Virginia State Police, as it’s never too late to fight for justice.”

In a statement, Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge said he is “grateful to the attorney general for prosecuting this case and am gratified that some measure of justice has been rendered.”