Anchorage grand jury does not find cause to indict Fr. Michael Nicolai, 40, on attempted sexual assault charge.
The attempted sexual assault case against a Dillingham parish priest has been dismissed by the prosecution. A grand jury in Anchorage did not return an indictment on the felony charge this week, and the prosecutor dismissed both charges against Father Michael Nicolai.
Nicolai, originally from Kwethluck has served several years as the priest at the St. Seraphim of Sarov Church in Dillingham, carrying much respect from his parishioners and church leadership.
Dillingham Police were called to the parish home early on Saturday July 16th with an allegation of domestic violence. Based on an investigation, police charged Nicolai with attempted second degree sexual assault and fourth degree assault.
Both charges have now been dropped. The prosecutor did not immediately respond to KDLG's request for comment.
Police say alcohol was a factor, and that both parties displayed numerous wounds from the incident.
Bishop David Mahaffey, Bishop of the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska for the Orthodox Church, says the lack of indictment and dismissal of charges indicate that Father Michael has been cleared in the eyes of the law, but in order to continue with the Church, he’ll have to meet ethical and moral standards as well.
"Based on our own investigation into the facts surrounding the case against Father Michael Nicolai, we are in agreement with the findings of the grand jury," said Bishop David. "However, we do still have our own investigation to complete to be sure we are following the policies, standards and procedures of the Orthodox Church in America, to which we are a part.”
The Bishop says that following the church’s investigation, it is likely that Father Michael will soon be returned to his pastoral duties at St. Seraphim.