Sexual Abuse in the Church

News broke in early November that a sub deacon at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church had been charged with sexual assaults on a teenage boy in the parish. Hurmiz Ishak was charged with a felony for allegations of multiple sexual encounters with the boy.

Being held at Oakland county jail with a cash or surety bond of $300,000, Ishak is facing a total of three counts of criminal sexual conduct, two of which are first-degree and the other is third-degree. All charges relate to one victim.

Police told the Detroit News that the alleged assaults began in May of 2017 and were reported by the parents to a pastor in October. The church reported these allegations to the Troy Police.

In his position as sub deacon at St. Joseph, Ishak is what Fr. Rudy Zoma described as an “elevated altar server” with responsibilities such as setting up the altar for everything from Masses to weddings and funerals.

Following Ishak’s arraignment on Wednesday, October 31, the church put out a statement and Fr. Rudy spoke with WXYZ about the alleged assaults and the church’s duty to the wellbeing and safety of the parishioners.

Fr. Rudy stressed that this matter has not been and will not be taken lightly as the church continues to co-operate with the investigation.

“We are trying to assure the faithful that we here at the church, we are so much concerned about the safety of their children. This is something that we take very seriously,” Fr. Rudy told WXYZ. “Everything has to be given to them in a transparent way, where there was an accusation and we took action. Now we have to unite together in a spirit of prayer.”

In the church’s statement, parishioners are urged to turn to prayer for all individuals involved. “At this time, we are called to pray for all those who are involved, most especially for the victim. We try to the greatest of our ability to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all of our parishioners, especially the children as they are the most vulnerable.”

In the statement, the church stresses their moral and legal obligations in situations such as this. “There is an appropriate protocol to be followed in these cases, and it was observed by St. Joseph church pastor.”

While the damage cannot be un-done, says the church, they urge others who may be facing sexual abuse to also speak up in an effort to prevent any further abuse.

The church also urged parishioners to redirect their energy from “gossip and slander” to beg the Holy Spirit to bring the “healing power of Jesus to the hearts of all those who are involved.”

Masses throughout the Diocese were offered up for the victim and family members, the sub-deacon and his family and all of those who are suffering with the emotional, physical and mental pains caused by sexual abuse.

To report any sexual abuse, please contact Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Janan Senawi, at (248) 354-3066.

Celebrating the Future


Chase Zebari was recognized as one of Michigan’s “Up and Comers” by the Michigan Nurse’s Association. In addition to this recognition, Zebari was the recipient of the American Nurses Association of Michigan’s “Celebrating the Future” award in late October. According to the American Nurse Association, this award is intended to “recognize and acknowledge five nurses in Michigan who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in nursing that have been a licensed RN for five years or less. This award is intended to celebrate dedicated service, encourage exemplary commitment to the nursing profession, and promise to grow in leadership in the advancement of nursing in Michigan.”

Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, we want to revisit our cover stories from this year.

January: In our first cover story of 2018, Vanessa wrote about a number of business trends to keep an eye on in the new year. Industry professionals were consulted and provided insight on everything from the booming marijuana industry to the customer driven food industry.

February: For our annual wedding guide, we covered the evolution of the traditional Chaldean wedding. Our cover featured the story of George and Susie Essa, the first documented Chaldean wedding on American soil.

March: The ongoing battle to save community members from being deported to Iraq was the cover story in March. While Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that each detainee was entitled to a bond hearing, the fight was far from over.

April: The April cover was all about the new beginnings for the Our Lady of the Fields Camp as it opened to the public in the Spring. Several community members worked to make the new camp a reality.

May: Our May issue was about surviving loss. We talked to several mothers throughout the community who had lost a child. They were brave and strong as they told us about their children, how they coped with the loss, and even offered advice to anyone else who may be dealing with loss.

June: In our June cover story, we touched on the Iraqi elections and the work of community member and elected officials who were working to amend immigration laws. Community members worked with Congressman John Moolenaar to amend the Nationality Act.

July: Our July issue was all about the midterm elections. We wanted to help inform readers ahead of the primary elections in August. From the gubernatorial race to Chaldeans running for local office, we wanted to ensure readers knew who was on the ballot.

August: With the cover of the August issue, instead of sticking to our traditional back to school guide, we decided to highlight the many universities and colleges throughout Michigan.

September: The September issue featured the rapidly growing Chaldean Moms of Metro Detroit Facebook group. Thousands of women in the community have come together in this group to form a sisterhood of sorts.

October: With five generations of tahini making spanning two countries, the Ayar family graced our October cover. The Ayar family started making tahini in Iraq and have since brought their trade to the United States.

November: Our November issue featured a candid conversation with Bishop Francis. Chaldean News

Co-Publishers Vanessa Denha Garmo, Martin Manna, and Mike Sarafa sat down for a conversation with the bishop about the community, the sexual abuse crisis, and the church.

Our newest generation of lawyers



“The first duty of government is to protect the powerless from the

powerful.” – Code of Hammurabi, circa 1772 B.C.

The Babylonian code of law was enacted by Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian King. It’s the oldest known code of laws in recorded history. That’s why today, we continue to celebrate our new generation of Chaldeans, embarking in the field of law.

Carly Hakim Babi, daughter of Carl and Azucena Hakim is one of Michigan’s newest attorneys. She received her JD, MBA from Detroit Mercy earlier this year. While in law school, she represented indigent defendants, and assisted community attorneys in protecting the rights of Chaldean immigrants.

A private swearing-in ceremony took place on October 25, 2018 at the 35th District Court in front of Chief Judge Michael J. Gerou, where her husband, Attorney Randy Ramzi Babi was her attorney sponsor. The family hosted a dinner to recognize Carly and the historical legacy of Chaldeans in lawmaking.

Attorney Carly Hakim Babi now joins her husband as a partner in the firm they have been building for the past two years, focusing in the areas of criminal law and business. She will be leading the firm’s family and immigration practices.

They can be reached at 888-778-2224 or