Report: Fugitive Priest Threatened Suicide

Fox 5 [Las Vegas NV]
February 1, 2007

A church soloist who claims she was badly beaten and choked by a Roman Catholic priest told police she was praying for her life when her attacker suddenly stopped.

A Las Vegas police report stated Father George Chaanine muttered he was going to kill himself and left the injured woman in the parish office at Our Lady of Las Vegas Church. Chaanine has not been found, but reports indicated he may have been spotted Wednesday outside a bank in the Northern California coastal city of Monterey.

The Rev. George Chaanine is accused of hitting the woman in the head with a wine bottle and of fondling her in the Friday incident. Chaanine remains a fugitive a day after prosecutors obtained a warrant for his arrest.

The warrant charges the fugitive priest with attempted murder, kidnapping and battery with intent to commit sex assault.

Authorities said George Chaanine may be driving a white or cream-colored 2006 Buick with Nevada license plate 732 RRM.

The Diocese of Las Vegas said Our Lady of Las Vegas placed Chaanine was placed on administrative leave after a church employee accused Chaanine of striking her Friday afternoon inside a building on the church's campus. Police said the church employee accused Chaanine after she resisted his sexual advances inside a building on the church's campus. No sexual assault is alleged to have occurred, police said.

The administrative action means Chaanine cannot act in any capacity as a priest. Police continued their search for the priest, but he was not found at his home or the church. Police said Chaanine owns a gun and could be armed and dangerous.


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