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At-Large Councilmember David Grosso revealed in an emailed statement today that he was sexually assaulted as a minor by a former Virginia priest who was recently indicted for the alleged crime.
Scott Asalone, 63, was arrested March 12 in New Jersey and is now charged with sexually assaulting a minor between the ages of 13 and 15, according to a news release from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Asalone will be tried in Loudoun County Circuit Court and is among the 50 priests the Virginia dioceses said had been credibly accused of sexual abuse between 1974 and 2007.
Asalone’s indictment is the first in the Virginia AG and Virginia State Police investigation into sexual abuse of minors in the state’s Catholic diocese and its leadership’s efforts to cover up the potential crimes, Herring’s release says.
In his statement, Grosso says the abuse occurred in the 1980s while Asalone was a priest at Saint Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville, Va. He says he attended therapy in the 1990s and largely believed the incident was behind him until Virginia law enforcement obtained the Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s internal file on the case.
“This new investigation into a crime the Diocese attempted to bury for decades has ripped open old wounds, stirred dark memories and caused fresh trauma as I have been forced vividly to relive the tragic events of my childhood,” Grosso says in the emailed statement. “I have again received therapy and made difficult decisions to advance my recovery. My conclusion not to seek another term as a Councilmember was heavily influenced by this new case. State authorities asked me to provide testimony to the grand jury in Fairfax, and I did so, only to prevent Mr. Asalone from ever hurting another child.”
He continues: “I am making this statement because I understand the tremendous burden that victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives. As I did many years ago, we all must find the courage to come forward, tell our stories, and seek justice and accountability from the perpetrator, as well as the churches and other institutions that have hidden or excused their behavior.”
Grosso did not immediately respond to a request for comment beyond his statement.
Grosso’s statement and the news release from the Virginia AG’s office encourage other victims to come forward and take advantage of the resources available.
In D.C., victims can seek help by phone at 1(844) HELPDC (1(844) 443-5732) or online at DCvictim.org/chat.
Victims of clergy abuse in Virginia can call 1(833) 454-9064 or visit VirginiaClergyHotline.com.