Canada--Convicted Orthodox archbishop released from prison

Canada--Convicted Orthodox archbishop released from prison

For immediate release:  Thursday, July 23, 2015

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, California, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, 925-708-6175), Cappy Larson of San Francisco, California, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP (cappy@rlarson.com, 415-637-2006); David Clohessy of St. Louis, Missouri, Executive Director of SNAP (davidgclohessy@gmail.com, 314-566-9790)

Victims want abusive bishop defrocked

He’s been released early from Canadian prison

SNAP to hierarchs: “Tell public where the molester is now”

Group begs officials to limit his access to kids and parishes

“You have a moral duty to disclose and warn families at risk,” victims say

A Canadian archbishop convicted of child sexual abuse has been released from prison early. A support group for victims wants church officials to defrock him, warn families about him and keep him away from parishes.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Archbishop-Storheim-found-guilty-of-sexually-assaulting-altar-boy-241849391.html   

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) about Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was once the church’s highest ranking official in Canada. Storheim was suspended by his synod following his arrest in November of 2010. In January 2014, he was forced into retirement after his conviction for child sexual abuse.

SNAP wants church officials to take the next step and defrock the archbishop. The victims’ group has been urging the OCA to do this since the archbishop’s 2014 conviction.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_beg_synod_to_defrock_archbishop

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_defrock_archbishop

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_call_on_orthodox_synod_to_defrock_archbishop_at_their_spring_meeting

According to the website which announced Storheim’s release, he left custody on July 7, 2105, in compliance with the “Statutory Earned (early) Release.” Also according to the site, the conditions and restrictions of his release while his appeal was pending have been removed and THERE ARE NO CONDITIONS OR RESTRICTIONS ON THE ARCHBISHOP. (Emphasis supplied.)

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

However, the site is apparently maintained by a group of Canadian parishioners who remain loyal to the disgraced cleric.

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/content/canadian-orthodox-history-project

Members of SNAP have written to the synod again pleading with them to defrock Storheim. All of the bishops are in Atlanta from July 20-24, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, for their national council. The victims’ group also asked the synod to:

1.    Inform the faithful and the public of the archbishop’s current whereabouts and any restrictions imposed by the Canadian government;

2.     Use their authority to restrict Storheim’s access to children and parishes; and

3.     Caution and alert families at risk, particularly those who believe the archbishop was wrongfully convicted and who may put kids at risk to demonstrate their trust in Storheim.

The complete text of the email can be found below.

The sex abuse guidelines of the OCA mandate the removal of those clerics convicted of abusing children. The Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct states that “Any clergy ... found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. ..."

http://oca.org/PDF/official/2013-10-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

Melanie Jula Sakoda, the Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP, wants action now. “It’s time for the OCA to remove Archbishop Seraphim from the priesthood.  He’s been convicted and even served his sentence. No more excuses.”

Cappy Larson is the other Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP. She added, “The synod of bishops also needs to make public what they know about the archbishop’s current whereabouts and any conditions of his release. If Archbishop Seraphim is residing in an OCA facility, they need to make sure that he is forbidden to be alone with minors and that he only attends services where authorized.  Even if the Canadian government did not impose any conditions on Archbishop Seraphim’s release, the Church can go the extra mile to protect kids.” 

In addition, the Executive Director of SNAP, David Clohessy, urged the bishops to have church officials reach out to every parishioner in Canada, reminding them that children must not be put at risk. “There are people in the archdiocese who believe that the archbishop was wrongfully convicted. These ‘true believers’ are likely to expose kids to danger just to demonstrate their continued trust in their former archbishop. The synod has a responsibility to do what they can to prevent this from happening.”

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

Sakoda concluded, “The OCA has a moral duty to continue to monitor the archbishop, and to alert and caution families who may be at risk.”

July 23, 2015

Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard

P.O. Box 675

Syosset, NY 11791

Email: metropolitan@oca.org

 

Archbishop Nathaniel Popp

PO Box 309

Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309

Email: nathaniel@roea.org

 

Archbishop Nikon Liolin

PO Box 149

Southbridge, MA 01550

Email: bpnikon@aol.com

 

Archbishop Benjamin Peterson

1520 Green St

San Francisco, CA 94123

Email: vikenty@msn.com

 

Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera

Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53

Col Penon De Los Banos

Mexico, DF 15520

Email: obispoalejo@yahoo.com.mx

 

Archbishop Melchisedek Pleska

PO Box 1769

Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769

Email: melchisedek999@yahoo.com

 

Archbishop Mark Maymon

144 St Tikhon's Road

Waymart, PA 18472

Email: vladyka.mark@gmail.com

 

Archbishop Irenee Rochon

15 LeBreton St. N.

Ottawa, ON K1R 7H1

Canada

Email: bishopirenee@archdiocese.ca

 

Archbishop Michael Dahulich

33 Hewitt Ave

Bronxville, NY 10708

Email: bishopmichael@nynjoca.org

 

Bishop Alexander Golitzin

519 Brynhaven Dr.

Oregon, OH 43616

Email: alexander@bdoca.org

 

Bishop David Mahaffey

7031 Howard Ave

Anchorage, AK 99504-1899

Email: otyetz@hotmail.com

 

Bishop Paul Gassios

933 N. La Salle Dr.

Chicago, IL 60610-3204

Email: bishoppaul@domoca.org

 

Re: The Release from Prison of Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Sirs:

We are members of a victims’ group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are writing to you today because we are concerned about the release of Archbishop Seraphim, and what that means for the safety of kids in the Archdiocese of Canada.

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

First, according to your Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct, “Any clergy ... found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities parish ministry. ..."

http://oca.org/PDF/official/2013-10-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

It’s time. The archbishop has been convicted and even served his sentence. We beg you; don’t allow him to continue to hold a position of authority in the Church. Send the message that the OCA has zero tolerance for child sexual abuse!

Also, we believe that your responsibility does not end with defrocking, and we urge you to take three additional steps.

1.    First, inform the Faithful and the public of Archbishop Seraphim’s current whereabouts and any conditions of his release;

2.    Second, place conditions on the archbishop’s residency in any OCA facilities: he should not to be alone with minors and he should only attend services where authorized by you;

3.    Finally, reach out to the Faithful in Canada via the pulpit, the internet and by mail to inform every one of the restrictions on Archbishop Seraphim. Alert and caution them to respect these limitations to insure the safety of the Church’s children.

As you know, there are some within the Archdiocese of Canada who believe that the archbishop was wrongfully convicted, and they are likely to ignore the possible danger to their kids in order to show their continued trust in the archbishop. Please do what you can to prevent this from happening.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/

The OCA has made great strides in addressing the issue of clergy sexual misconduct. We hope that you will continue this process.

Melanie Jula Sakoda, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP (melanie.sakoda@gmail.com, 925-708-6175)

Cappy, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP (cappy@rlarson.com, 415-637-2006)

David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP (davidgclohessy@gmail.com, 314-566-9790)

    

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