A 26-year-old man was sentenced to two years in prison for his attack on the pastor of Resurrection parish in Pike Creek on July 30, 2018.
Joshua August pleaded guilty but mentally ill in March to assault first degree and assault third degree and was sentenced by Judge Paul Wallace. His prison term will be followed by eight years of probation with extensive supervision and mental health treatment services.
Father William Graney, 75, was assaulted while at his office on the church grounds. He was hospitalized for a week after the attack and has recovered from his injuries. A parish staff member who was in the office at the time sustained minor injuries. Another staff member was uninjured in the incident.
August has been held on bail since his arrest shortly after the attack.
At a prayer service last year, parishioners described August as a troubled person who was known to people in the parish. They said Father Graney had been working to try to help him.
In a statement issued by the Diocese of Wilmington, Father Graney thanked well-wishers who supported him over the last year.
“I believe that justice has been served by today’s sentencing and am encouraged that the sentence included mental health treatment,” Father Graney said. “I have forgiven Joshua for his actions and thank God that I have recovered from my injuries. I am grateful for all the prayers and remarkable outpouring of support from the parishioners at Resurrection Parish and beyond.”
New Castle County Police Patrol units were called to the church in the unit block of Videre Drive in the community of Skyline Ridge in response to a report of an assault July 30, 2018. When the units arrived a man was observed skating away on a skateboard. He was apprehended by police.
The officers then learned from the church employees that the man had been inside the church and could be heard arguing inside the pastor’s office. After the argument, employees heard what sounded like hitting or thumps and when they came in they saw the pastor lying on the floor and the other man was punching and kicking him in the stomach and face numerous times.
The church employees attempted to break up the fight but the assailant pushed them aside and continued the assault.
The church employees were then able to lure the assailant out of the church by telling him that they would give him a ride and money. Once he was outside, they locked the front door, locking him outside.