Canada-- Church still paying convicted predator archbishop
For immediate release: Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Convicted abusive archbishop still gets a salary
Victims’ group is “outraged” by “this hurtful injustice”
Hierarch was retired and is no longer an archdiocesan employee
Survivors believe this set-up is a way to channel archdiocesan funds to the prelate’s legal defense
Officials early on made it clear that church entities must not be involved in raising money for archbishop’s attorney fees
Victims’ beg the synod to put an end to “this hurtful, expensive charade”
Members of an abuse survivors' group say that Orthodox Church officials are continuing to pay an archbishop who was retired in the wake of hjs conviction on child sexual abuse charges.
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was found guilty of molesting a child in January of 2014. He was once the highest-ranking Orthodox prelate in Canada. (He worked in Winnipeg and Ottawa.)
Then, in April, the synod of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) retired Storheim from active ministry.
However, official archdiocesan minutes that were recently put online show that Storheim received his full salary through the end of August. Although his employment benefits ended in June, he will apparently continue to collect two thirds of his salary, with no end in sight to the payments.
Members of an abuse survivors group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, believe that this arrangement is a ploy to funnel archdiocesan funds to Storheim’s legal defense, and have written to the OCA’s synod of bishops, asking them to put a stop to this. The full text of their letter is pasted below.
The OCA and the Archdiocese of Canada made it clear shortly after Storheim was arrested that church resources could not be used to assist the archbishop in his legal defense.
Although Storheim has been convicted and sentenced, he has appealed both, so he has continuing legal expenses.
SNAP leader Melanie Jula Sakoda fumed about the continuing payments to Storheim.
“All along there has been a group of people within the archdiocese who have sought to use church resources to aid the archbishop in his legal defense, despite clear directives from the Church that this is inappropriate. However, this latest under the table ploy to assist Archbishop Seraphim is just over the top. The man has not only been convicted of abusing a child, he has been retired by his synod. There is no reason for him to receive continued financial support from the archdiocese!”
Cappy Larson, also of SNAP, added, “The archbishop is living in a monastery. He has no expenses for housing or for food. He has his pension from the Canadian government. The archdiocese should not be slipping him money under the table. It’s a slap in the face of those two brave men who testified about their abuse at the hands of Archbishop Seraphim. The synod needs to rectify this travesty.”
A copy of SNAP’s letter, sent last night by fax and email, is below (516-922-0954; email@example.com)
Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard
PO Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791-0675
SENT BY FAX AND EMAIL: 516-922-0954; firstname.lastname@example.org
October 21, 2014
Re: Archbishop Seraphim’s salary from the Archdiocese of Canada
Dear Metropolitan Tikhon,
We are members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
It recently came to our attention that the Archdiocese of Canada has continued to pay Archbishop Seraphim Storheim a salary, despite the fact that his retirement was announced by the synod of bishops on April 3, 2014.
The material linked above clearly indicates that the archbishop is no longer an employee of the archdiocese. It seems apparent to us that these monies are simply a clandestine way to use Church resources to help pay for Archbishop Seraphim’s attorneys.
However, officials made it clear shortly after the archbishop’s arrest that this was inappropriate.
Archbishop Seraphim is currently living in a monastery. He has no expenses for housing or for food. He has his pension from the Canadian government. In our opinion the archdiocese should not be slipping him money under the table. It is a slap in the face of those two brave men who testified about their abuse at the hands of the archbishop.
We implore you to bring this disturbing situation to the attention of the synod. This travesty needs to be rectified immediately.
David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com)
Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (925-708-6175 cell, email@example.com)
Cc: Archbishop Nathaniel Popp
Archbishop Nikon Liolin
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson
Archbishop Melchisedek Pleska
Bishop Mark Maymon
Bishop Irenee Rochon
Bishop Michael Dahulich
Bishop Alexander Golitzen
Bishop David Mahaffey
Igumen Paul Gassios
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.