Canada, NY--Clergy sex abuse victims call on Orthodox synod to defrock archbishop at their spring meeting
For immediate release: Monday, March 16, 2015
The synod of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will be meeting in Syosset, New York, from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 20, 2015.
Members of an abuse survivors' group are once again urging Orthodox Church in America officials to defrock a high ranking clergyman who was found guilty of molesting a child.
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 by the synod of bishops.
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who for many years was the OCA’s highest ranking clergyman in Canada, was convicted in January of 2014 for sexually violating an 11 year old altar boy in Winnipeg. The archbishop was sentenced to 8 months in jail the following July, but appealed both the conviction and the sentence. However, his conviction and his sentence were recently upheld by the appellate court.
“Both Archbishop Seraphim's guilt and church policy are crystal clear,” said Cappy Larson of SNAP. “No more excuses, the synod needs to follow its policy!”
“Please,” added Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, “make sure that this convicted child molester can never again use his religious titles or roles to get access to and hurt another child.”
For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Cappy Larson (415-637-2006 cell, email@example.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 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.
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.