Scigliano's public defender made inaccurate statements


September 24, 2020

The following commentary is a response by Leonard Banaszak of the Covenant Life Center to the Sept. 17 CVN article “Police believe man wanted in Idaho also committed local crimes.”

I would like to address an apparent misunderstanding by public defender, Dylan Krueger, regarding Christopher Panagiotou-Scigliano (whom we knew as Chris Sturni), and his relationship with Covenant Life Center. Mr. Krueger stated at a court hearing last week that Chris “attends church and eats meals” at Covenant Life Center (CLC). We were not contacted by Mr. Krueger regarding Chris’s status with the church. Therefore, the information provided by Mr. Kruger is incorrect.

To clarify, Tamsen Cassidy lived on Mosquito Lake Rd. and started attending services at CLC. She worked with an organization that connected people from all over the world with short-term cultural exchange-work assignments. Since she attended church at CLC, she would typically invite her guests to come to service with her.

Chris and his wife connected with Tamsen to work with her farm operation. She invited them to one of our services and that is how we met the Sturnis. Their commitment to Tamsen was fulfilled in November and they needed a place to put their truck and live-in trailer as well as house their miniature horses and supplies. Since winter was fast upon us, they asked if they could park their trailer on our property until they could determine their next step. Chris’s wife was expecting and we knew that the Haines winters could be brutal with the snow and cold so we agreed to let them park their trailer on our property. Not having any knowledge of the circumstances of Chris’s past, we of course invited them to our services and meals if they felt the need to attend. This residence arrangement was temporary and Chris never requested to become a “member” of CLC.

The Sturnis spent the winter with us, and of course had their mail delivered here. After winter passed, Chris purchased property on Chilkat Lake, and he and his wife moved to the Lake. From that point on, and for the following years, Chris was totally engaged in building his home on the Lake and rarely came out except for supplies and mail. The Sturnis didn’t attend services after their move to the lake. However, occasionally, when Chris or his wife came out for mail or supplies people would invite them to a meal as an extension of Christian hospitality. We all took him at face-value and had no reason to question his integrity. All of us were tremendously shocked and sincerely grieved over the allegations that have been brought against Chris.

 Contrary to what the information provided by Mr. Krueger incorrectly stated, Chris does neither attend church at Covenant Life Center nor regularly eats meals here. However, we do pray that if these allegations are true, and Chris faces them honestly, directly, and sincerely repents for his past actions, that he will ultimately, with God’s help, be able to salvage the rest of his life.

 We also pray that the victims will heal from any trauma as a result of these interactions with Chris.


Leonard Banaszak for Covenant Life Center.


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