Former priest convicted of sexually abusing a minor in Virginia court

Scott Asalone Scott A. Asalone, 65, a former priest at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville, pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor. | Loudoun County Adult Detention Center

A former priest who served in northern Virginia pleaded guilty to charges that he sexually abused a teenage boy decades ago.

Scott A. Asalone, 65, a former priest at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville, Virginia, was arrested in Asbury Park, New Jersey, in 2020 on a felony charge of carnal knowledge of a 13- or 14-year-old child without force.

Asalone entered an Alford Plea in Loudon Circuit Court Monday and could face up to 10 years in prison at his April 13 sentencing date.

According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University, an Alford Plea is a guilty plea in which a defendant maintains his innocence while agreeing to accept the penalties of a guilty verdict.

Asalone, who was a friar with the Capuchin Province of the Stigmata, was accused of sexual abuse in 1993 and subsequently removed from the St. Francis de Sales Parish by the Capuchin order. He never returned to priestly ministry. He was dismissed from his religious order in 2007.

David Grosso, a former Washington, D.C., council member, publicly identified himself as the victim in the case when charges were first filed, according to the Associated Press.

Asalone was 29 and Grosso was between 13 and 15 when the abuse occurred in 1985. The Washington Post reported that Grosso was in the courtroom Monday.

“It felt good for me to be there,” Grosso said. “To see the judge walk him through the charge, and find that he really is guilty of assaulting me … He realized the case was too strong against him.”

Grosso told the Associated Press Monday that in a 1992 letter exchange between him and the priest Asalone admitted to abusing him. Grosso added that the letter was used as evidence in the case.

Asalone served at the parish from 1984 to 1993. He was named in the Diocese of Arlington’s 2019 list of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. After an investigation by Virginia’s attorney general’s office, Asalone was indicted by a grand jury in March 2020 and extradited to Virginia following his arrest.

Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares encouraged all victims of clergy sex abuse to contact the Virginia State Police.

“Every victim deserves to be heard. My office is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those who prey on children to the fullest extent of the law,” Miyares said in a press release.

Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge said in a press release that he is grateful that justice has been served in this case.

“Victims of child sexual abuse continue to experience ongoing trauma and suffering, even decades after the abuse took place. I continue to express my deepest sorrow for any abuse perpetrated by clergy, especially on minors, the most vulnerable of God’s children,” Burbidge said.

“I am grateful to the attorney general for prosecuting this case and am gratified that some measure of justice has been rendered. Our diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of a minor and no priest with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is serving in our diocese,” he added.

Anyone aware of any abuse or misconduct by a cleric, employee, or volunteer of the diocese should notify the diocese and civil authorities, the press release said. Those aware of abuse should also reach out to the diocese’s Victim Assistance Coordinator at (703) 841-2530.

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