St. Augustine’s worker attacked by long-time co-worker; suspect still at large

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A Cleveland church known for its mission to feed the hungry is the scene of a violent attack on one of its office workers. The victim says the man who assaulted her is a long-time co-worker.

“I did have a huge bump, so they thought I had bleeding on the brain and stuff, so they rushed me to have CT scans and whatever, but thank God I didn’t…the concussion and mild jaw fracture,” said Doris Everetts.

Everetts is the office manager for St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.  She says around 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, she was in the office, when a co-worker walked into the office visibly upset.

“He walked in and he was like ‘what are you looking at?’ and I’m like ‘what do you mean, what am I looking at?’ and he lunged at me and that’s all I remember. He just started punching me and whatever, and when I woke up, I was at the other side of the office,” she said.

“Because he’s been with us awhile, we knew that there were concerns we had that…there were moments in which he would be fine and then there would be moments in which his behavior would become destructive and frightening,” said Rev. Bill O’Donnell.

Father O’Donnell says the man has worked off and on for the parish for many years, helping to distribute meals.  They believe he became irate after he learned his paycheck would start coming from Catholic Charities and not St. Augustine Parish.

“He thought that he was cheated, but we had already worked it all out, we thought, but he didn’t understand it, so he simply attacked the woman who wrote the checks,” said Father O’Donnell.

“I thought we were friends. We were coworkers,” said Everetts.

Everetts has been affiliated with St. Augustine for more than 30 years.  She never thought she would ever be attacked in church.

“I lived in the convent with Sister Corita, raised a child, I was single, and I worked in the hunger center. You know, helped feed the homeless or whatever…and I got bored one day and started answering phones…the sister hired me to answer phones and now I’m the office manager,” she said.

“I also wanted to reassure her that, hey, we’re behind her and just get better, just get better, take all the time you need,” said O’Donnell.

“I will forgive you, but you need help…All I can say is, you need a lot of help,” said Everetts.

Father O’Donnell says one of the secretary’s grandchildren was in the office at the time and witnessed the attack.  He fears Everetts might have been more seriously injured, if other people were not around.

At last check, the suspect had not been arrested.

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