AK--Bulgarian priest defrocked
For immediate release: Monday, March 23, 2015
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga CA, Orthodox Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia (BOD) announced on its website on Saturday, March 21st that Archpriest Paisius DeLucia would be defrocked.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is relieved that the founder and former head of Saint Innocent’s Academy (SIA) in Kodiak has been removed from a position of authority. However, they agree with the publishers of Academy Abuse that more remains to be done.
DeLucia was accused by at least 18 former students of physical, emotional and spiritual abuse. The spiritual court concluded that he publicly shamed kids, used vulgar language, engaged in unbecoming behavior while serving the sacraments, including interrupting liturgy to discipline attendees, violated confessions, and used “improper pastoral approaches toward the faithful.”
“First is must be said that this decision would not have been possible without the bravery and persistence of all the former students who testified at the spiritual court,” said David Clohessy, the Executive Director of SNAP. “We congratulate them on their victory and applaud their courage.”
Cappy Larson of SNAP added, “However, the diocese also needs to step up and explain what they will do in the future to prevent further abuses. As a mother it’s very disturbing to me that Saint Innocent’s was billing itself as a treatment center for troubled youth without any oversight from the Church or from the state. Kids with problems deserve a qualified and credentialed staff.”
“And are the BOD and Christ the Saviour Brotherhood (CSB) going to take responsibility for what happened to the students who attended the academy?” wondered Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP. “Father Paisius’ victims may need counseling and therapy as they try to heal.”
DeLucia founded Saint Innocent’s in 1998 under the auspices of CSB, and the group reportedly still owns the property where the school sits. The academy, along with other parishes from CSB, joined the BOD in 2000.
Clohessy concluded, “There is also still an open criminal investigation into the academy. Victims who have not yet done so should make a report to Trooper Robert Casey (907-486-4121, email@example.com) as soon as possible.”
Contact - David Clohessy, 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org; Cappy Larson, 415-637-2006, email@example.com; Melanie Jula Sakoda, 925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.