Canada, NY--Victims’ group outraged that synod again delays defrocking convicted archbishop
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)
At their recent meeting in Syosset, New York, the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) again delayed defrocking Canadian Archbishop Seraphim Storheim.
Members of an abuse survivors' group are outraged that the synod still has not removed the archbishop from the ranks of clergy. He was the OCA’s highest ranking clergyman in Canada, but was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11 year old altar boy in January of 2014 and is currently in jail.
The OCA’s synod instead “reviewed” the report of the Synodal Commission, as well as procedures and a date for the spiritual court. They also appointed a committee of three bishops to “develop appropriate procedures.”
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that the denomination has publicly acknowledged that their sex abuse policy requires that clergy who have been convicted of child sexual abuse be laicized.
“This ‘spiritual court’ seems to me to be little more than a time-wasting formality,” said Cappy Larson of SNAP. “Both Archbishop Seraphim's guilt and church policy are crystal clear.”
“At least Archbishop Seraphim can’t use his religious title to hurt children from behind bars,” added Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, “But what happens when he completes his sentence?”
“The OCA can’t afford to have the archbishop’s die-hard supporters expose kids to danger to prove to him that they trust him completely,” concluded Larson.
For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, email@example.com), Cappy Larson (415-637-2006 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com)
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.