D.C. COUNCIL MEMBER DAVID GROSSO ALLEGES HE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY FORMER VIRGINIA CATHOLIC PRIEST AS A CHILD
According to media reports, on Saturday, March 14, 2020, a former Catholic priest from northern Virginia was charged with the sexual abuse of a minor between 13 and 15 years old that occurred in 1985. The following Monday, D.C. Council member David Grosso said, “The minor he assaulted was me.”
“I am making this statement because I understand the tremendous burden that victims of sexual assault and abuse carry throughout their lives,” Grosso said. “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.”
The councilman’s alleged abuser, Scott Asalone, 63, is the former rector of St Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Purcellville, Virginia. At the time of his arrest he was a management consultant and bookstore owner in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He will be extradited to Virginia to stand trial.
According to records released by the Diocese of Arlington last year, Asalone is a former member of the Capuchin Friars order, and was removed from public ministry in 1993. He was dismissed from the Friars in 2007. His name is included in a list of all clergy credibly accused of child sexual abuse in northern Virginia.
Asalone is the first person indicted as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s office and State Police into Catholic clergy abuse. The probe was initiated after the Pennsylvania attorney general uncovered hundreds of unprosecuted cases and more than 1,000 child victims in 2018.
“I know that stepping forward to share your experience can be difficult or scary but I want you to know that, even if it happened years ago, we will still take it seriously and make sure you get the help and support you need,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement to the public.
In 2018, Mr. Grosso helped pass the Statute of Limitations Amendment Act, which took effect in May 2019. It opened a two-year window for child sexual abuse victims in the District of Columbia to file civil claims despite being prohibited under the previous three-year statute of limitations. A member of the city council since 2013, Grosso said the emotional turmoil caused by reopening the investigation into his childhood trauma greatly influenced his decision not to seek a third term. He said he is again in therapy and working towards recovery.
Mr. Grosso said it was important to “get the message out that people should speak up and that there is a chance for justice to happen.”
Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations. If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of any religious faith, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at [email protected] for a free consultation.