updated 1/28/2007 10:59:30 PM ET 2007-01-29T03:59:30

A Catholic priest wanted for questioning in connection with the assault of a woman at a church has been suspended by the Diocese of Las Vegas.

The Rev. George Chaanine of Our Lady of Las Vegas was placed on administrative leave, meaning he cannot act in any capacity as a priest, said diocese spokeswoman Rachel Wilkinson.

Police said a church employee accused Chaanine of striking her Friday afternoon after he made sexual advances on her and she resisted inside a building on the church’s campus. No sexual assault is alleged, said Lt. Kevin McMahill.

Police continued their search Sunday for the priest, but he was not found at his home or the church, said Lt. Jeff Whitehead. “He’s on the lam,” Whitehead said.

The incident began at 4:22 p.m. Friday, when police received a call about an assault or battery at the church. A woman ran out of one of the church buildings and accused Chaanine of beating her, police said.

Authorities took the woman to University Medical Center’s trauma unit. She was treated and released Friday night.

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