Deacon Accused of Sex Crimes with Child Was Accused by Another

By Aileen Wingblad
Royal Oak Tribune
August 23, 2019

Hurmiz Ishak, in Oakland County Circuit Court on Friday.

A deacon from Sterling Heights on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage altar boy at a Troy church in 2017 was accused of inappropriate touching of a young girl months before the boy came forward with allegations, according to testimony heard Friday in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Hurmiz Ishak, 66, is charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct involving the boy, who was between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the alleged incidents. And while Ishak was suspended from his duties at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church after the allegations were made in October 2018, one of several of the church’s leaders who’ve testified so far said that it wasn’t the first time Ishak was ordered to stay away from the church due to alleged misconduct.

Earlier in 2018, a young female altar server had reported to a church leader that Ishak had touched her inappropriately, according to one of the church’s priests — who said she was somewhere between 12 and 15 years old at the time.

Assistant prosecutor makes his opening statement, telling jurors Hurmiz Ishak is "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

None of the witnesses called to the stand are being identified, as ordered by Judge Phyllis McMillen, who is overseeing the trial. The Oakland Press isn’t naming the alleged victim either, due to the nature of the alleged crimes.

Ishak’s young female accuser, the priest testified, told him about “inappropriate touching” by the deacon, which was promptly reported to police and Children's Protective Services, he said. No charges were filed, but the allegations did lead to Ishak’s first suspension from his deacon duties. He was allowed to return to the church a couple months later.

Soon afterward, the teen boy told church leaders about several sex acts in multiple areas of the church that happened between him and Ishak. Troy police were contacted and, following an investigation, Ishak was arrested and charged.

Hurmiz Ishak grins as assistant prosecutor Christopher George describes the sex acts he allegedly committed with a teenage boy.

‘Wolf in sheep’s clothing’

And according to assistant prosecutor Christopher George, those aren’t Ishak’s only victims. In his opening statement Friday, George told jurors they can expect testimony from a woman who claims Ishak sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager, more than a dozen years ago. The girl had told her mother about it soon afterward, but was told to keep it to herself because otherwise she’d ostracized and “treated like damaged goods” by the Chaldean community. That decision haunts her to this day, George said.

George described Ishak as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Yet defense attorney Jalal Dallo, in his opening statement, paints a much different picture of Ishak — calling him “a loving and devoted husband, father and grandpa,” dedicated to his family and church, where he’s respected and entrusted.

“Everybody loves him, everybody knows him,” Dallo said. “They know him, they love him and they trust him.”

Dallo also said the prosecution doesn’t have the evidence to prove its case. “These are lies, this has been misconstrued...the entire case doesn’t add up.”

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo says the case against Hurmiz Ishak "doesn't add up."

Further, Dallo said Ishak has challenges with the English language which had adverse effects during his interview with Troy police detectives — and that the use of an interpreter via speaker phone during the interview was inadequate.

Ishak has lived in the United States since the 1970s and has no trouble with English, according to George. However, he’s using an interpreter during the trial, which continues Monday.








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