Canada- Orthodox archbishop is sentenced, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
A Canadian archbishop, who was found guilty of child sexual abuse in criminal court in January, was sentenced today to eight months in jail.
We are glad that Archbishop Seraphim Storheim will spend time in jail, although we are disappointed that it is not for a longer period of time. While incarcerated, he will be unable to hurt any more children.
Now that the criminal process is complete, we urge the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to go beyond announcing this sentence on their website, given the small group of vocal supporters who persist in clamoring that the archbishop is “innocent.” Church official must insist that every parish bulletin in Canada post a prominent notice urging anyone who might have suffered, seen, or suspected Storheim’s crimes to call police.
OCA officials must also re-examine the decisions made by the archbishop in all cases of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct, to insure that other predators were not protected and that whistle-blowers were not punished.
Moreover, the Church must not wash their hands of this predator. Not only must they move forward to remove Storheim from the clergy, they must also do what they can to ensure that the archbishop is sent to a secure, remote facility far away from children after he completes his time in jail.
Finally, the OCA should post the names, photos, current whereabouts and work histories of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric, whether living or deceased on their website.
We are in awe of the courage and commitment of the two men who filed criminal complaints against the archbishop. We hope that Storheim’s incarceration will encourage other Orthodox victims to come forward, report to police and begin healing.
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was found guilty in criminal court of abusing an 11 year old boy earlier this year. He was also accused of molesting the boy’s twin although the judge did not find that there was enough evidence to convict him of this crime.
The Crown had asked that the archbishop be sentenced to a year in jail.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, as well as those abused in other settings, such as the Boy Scouts and the military. Our website is SNAPnetwork.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.