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Clergy member arrested for sexual battery in Tarpon Springs, police say

Posted at 11:02 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 17:50:21-04

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A clergy member has been arrested in Tarpon Springs for sexual battery, police say.

On May 27, a woman said she had been sexually battered at a house on Pinellas Ave.

Koumianos Hatzileris, 71, was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual battery.

Long-time neighbor Kally Boulafentis isn’t mincing words.

"He should be ashamed of himself, that’s what I would tell him," she said.

He is a clergy member of the The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of America and is a part of the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece, referred to as the Genuine Orthodox Church of America (GOCA) in the United States, officials say.

“He shouldn’t be doing that. He’s a man of the cloth," said Boulafentis, "You can’t do that when you are a priest.”

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Hatzileris uses the name "Father George," and is assigned to the parish of Dormition of the Theotokos, in Clearwater, where his title is Protopresbyter, according to the GOCA website.

“They should be absolutely role models. Sure they sure. You gotta practice what you preach," said neighbor Marie James.

This church is not affiliated with St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tarpon Springs, which is a member parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. ABC Action News couldn't get in contact with the church for comment.

"I pray for the lady to have strength that she’ll go on with her life," said James.

The victim is not a parishioner of Dormition of the Theotokos. Detective Lara Scarpati is asking anyone with information pertaining to the suspect to please contact her at (727) 938-2849.