Las Vegas priest sentenced to 12 years in prison for brutal attack in church office

by Marie Mortera

He once was revered as a priest, now Father George Chaanine will be a prisoner for up to 12 years.

Chaanine was sentenced Thursday for bashing a choir singer in the head.

That singer, Michaelina Bellamy, said the attack has left her devastated.

"For him to put his hands on me, his filthy hands, and for me to remember these things," Bellamy told the court.
It was difficult, but Michaelina Bellamy had to do it one more time, in front of cameras, in front of church goers and before the man that left her with more than bruises and a cracked head earlier this year.

Father George Chaanine says things weren't supposed to end this way .

In fact, he says he loved her but somehow lost control.

"I wanted to do the right thing," Chaanine said.

His attorneys say that included lavish gifts and dinners he gave the choir singer, but those gifts and even an apology weren't enough to save the former Our Lady of Las Vegas priest from prison.

He was sentenced to four to 12 years.

"Of course he's very disappointed," Chaanine's friend and supporter Margo Russell said after the sentencing.

Russell and her husband had visited Chaanine weekly.

Just last Friday, according to Russell, he was hopeful for probation.

"He was convinced prayers would be answered, he'd get parole and he could move on with his life," Russell said.

Chaanine could be eligible for parole in after three years because of his time already spent in jail.