Canada- Victims blast fundraiser for convicted archbishop

For immediate release:  Thursday, February 27, 2014

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com), Cappy Larson (cappy@rlarson.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Victims seek help from church and university

A fundraiser is set for convicted archbishop

He was accused of molesting 11 year old twin boys

Group wants officials to denounce the event

SNAP: “Public support for proven molesters is wrong”
“It deters victims of other child sex crimes from speaking up,” they say

Sex abuse victims are criticizing a fundraiser for an archbishop convicted of child sexual abuse. The group is also urging leaders of five institutions to cancel the event or discourage attendance at it.

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are upset about a March 5th fundraiser to benefit Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was found guilty last month of child sexual abuse. Storheim is the former head of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). He has been suspended by the OCA while he awaits church discipline.

SNAP believes the event “hurts at least one child sex abuse victim and deters other child sex abuse victims from speaking up.” The fundraiser will be held at the Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa. The Woodroffe parish belongs to the United Church of Canada.

Performing at the concert will be the Illinois Wesleyan Piano Quartet. According to the concert flyer, all members of the ensemble are professors at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU) in the United States.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

SNAP has sent letters denouncing this event to:

Orthodox Church in America

Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, Tel: 516-922-0550

Archdiocese of Canada

Bishop Irenee Rochon, Tel: 613-223-7780

United Church of Canada

Tel: 416-231-5931

Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa

Rev. Jan Lougheed, Tel: 613 722-9250 x226

Rev. Matt Gallinger, Tel: 613 722-9250 x223

llinois Wesleyan University

Richard Wilson, President, Tel: 309-556-3151

Jonathan Green, Provost and Dean of Faculty, Tel: 309-556-3101

Mario Pelusi, Director of the School of Music, Tel: 309-556-3075 

The gathering is sponsored by what SNAP calls “a small but loud group which keeps supporting a convicted child molester.”

It's not exactly clear who is responsible for the fundraiser's website. However, its webmaster is Alexander Ovodov (604-904-9550, info@archbishopseraphim.org), a parishioner at Sobor of the Holy Resurrection in Vancouver, British Columbia (Rector: Archpriest Mikhail Fourik 604-325-1922 work, 604-322-0024 home, mfourik@hotmail.com).

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

http://archbishopseraphim.org/letter_from_webmaster

http://archbishopseraphim.org/Alexander

“What are these callous people thinking?” asked Cappy Larson of SNAP. “Archbishop Seraphim has been found guilty in court. He may not even appeal his conviction. Yet in complete disregard for the feelings of the victim, and the feelings of other victims, church officials are letting a small group raise money to help a convicted child molester.”

"Victims who’ve been sexually violated by Orthodox clerics should not have to see or hear about other Orthodox raising money for a proven predator," said Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP. "Church officials can and should prevent – or at least publicly denounce - this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.”

"And why are the Woodroffe parish and Illinois Wesleyan University allowing themselves to be associated with this travesty?” Larson continued. “They should know better. They should reconsider lending their names and resources to an event that will only scare and depress other victims of other predators into staying silent instead of speaking up.”

SNAP is asking Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard and Bishop Irenee Rochon to:

--denounce the event and use their influence to persuade event organizers to cancel it,

-- forbid OCA employees and discourage parishioners from attending Storheim’s fundraiser,

-- post and distribute copies of a brochure called “What to do when your priest is accused,”

--“do all they can” to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes, and

-- aggressively reach out to anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Storheim or any other OCA priest.

SNAP is also writing to the leadership of the Woodroffe church and the United Church of Canada, asking them to:

--denounce this event and immediately withdraw their support of Storheim’s fundraiser,

-- forbid their employees and discourage parishioners from attending Storheim’s fundraiser, and

--“do all they can” to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes in their churches.

Finally, SNAP is writing to the leadership of IWU, asking them to:

-- denounce this event,

-- forbid their employees from participating in Storheim’s fundraiser, and

--“do all they can” to prevent others from participating in similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes.

“If these leaders’ do nothing,” Sakoda says, “They are siding with the criminal and re-victimizing the victim. And they are making it harder for the ten year old girl in another church who's being molested now by her teacher or the 11 year old boy in another parish who's being sexually abused now by his step-father.”

“People who want to support the convicted archbishop should do so privately. Visible, public support for predators scares other child sex abuse victims. It discourages them from reporting crimes and thus it endangers more innocent kids,” said Sakoda.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/links_homepage/when_priest_accused.htm

Storheim is free on bail until his sentencing.

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

SNAP’s letters to the OCA, the Archdiocese of Canada, the United Church of Canada, the Woodroffe United Church and IWU, sent today by fax and email, are pasted below.

SNAP’s earlier letter sent to the Archdiocese of Canada, concerning actions taken on behalf of Storheim by the Vancouver parish, can be found here:

http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_press_releases/2011_press_releases/010511_parish_solicits_legal_funds_for_accused_cleric.htm

*****

Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard

Orthodox Church in America

P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791

SENT BY FAX and EMAIL:

Fax: 516-922-0954

Email: metropolitan@oca.org

February 27, 2014

Re: Fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Metropolitan Tikhon:

As you know, last month Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was convicted of child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced later this spring.

And yet on March 5th, the archbishop’s backers – many of them Orthodox - will hold a fundraising event for him.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

We are worried that this event will be terribly hurtful to the two men who accused Archbishop Seraphim of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. We are also worried that other child sex abuse victims will be discouraged and depressed when they see adults publicly rallying around and raising money for a convicted criminal. And we are worried that ignoring this callous injustice will encourage others in the future to publicly back those who commit child sex crimes. 

Imagine, Metropolitan Tikhon, that you’re a 13 year old boy who’s being molested by his soccer coach, or a 12 year old girl who’s being molested by her uncle. In each case, the predator tells the child “If you speak up, no one will listen or believe you. I’m a popular person around here. Everyone will think you’re lying or crazy.”

Then this Wednesday, that boy or girl walks into the benefit concert in Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa. He or she asks “Who does this concert benefit” and learns that perhaps dozens of adults are publicly backing an archbishop who was found guilty in a court of law of sexually abusing a child. Imagine how that boy or girl will feel. And imagine how unlikely it is that the boy or girl will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.

Let’s get more specific. Two men courageously came forward and accused an Orthodox priest (who later became an archbishop) of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. Their already great pain was amplified when a vocal group of Orthodox dismissed their testimony and instead rallied behind the accused, and now convicted, archbishop.

Imagine how these victims, their family and friends will feel when they find out about this fundraiser. And imagine how they will feel when they realize that you could have done something but instead did nothing.

You can try to stop this. You can try to spare others more pain. If you try, you may even succeed. You can certainly denounce this event publicly and deter people from attending. 

Metropolitan Tikhon, this isn’t rocket science. It’s simple compassion. It’s simple justice. And it’s simple abuse prevention.

So we are asking you to take five steps:

-- publicly denounce the March 5th event, and use your influence to persuade the event organizers to cancel the concert,

-- forbid OCA employees and discourage OCA parishioners from attending,

-- post and distribute copies of a brochure called “What to do when your priest is accused,”

-- do all you can to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes, and

-- aggressively reach out to anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Archbishop Seraphim or any other employee of the OCA.

If you do nothing, you are siding with a criminal and re-victimizing a victim. Staying silent about such a callous event directly contradicts every pledge made to treat child sex abuse victims with compassion.

Victims who’ve been sexually violated by OCA employees should not have to see or hear about Orthodox publicly raising money for a convicted criminal. Again, we urge you to at least publicly denounce this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.

People who want to support the archbishop should do so privately and not publicly in ways that scare and depress other child sex abuse victims into staying silent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (cappy@rlarson.com)

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

*****

Right Reverend Irenee Rochon
Archdiocese of Canada
9600 rue St-Denis Apt A101
Montreal, QC H2M 1P2 Canada
SENT BY FAX and EMAIL:
Fax: 613-233-1931
Email: bishopirenee@archdiocese.ca

February 27, 2014

Re: Fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Bishop Irenee:

As you know, last month Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was convicted of child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced later this spring.

And yet on March 5th, the archbishop’s backers – many of them Orthodox - will hold a fundraising event for him.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

We are worried that this event will be terribly hurtful to the two men who accused Archbishop Seraphim of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. We are also worried that other child sex abuse victims will be discouraged and depressed when they see adults publicly rallying around and raising money for a convicted criminal. And we are worried that ignoring this callous injustice will encourage others in the future to publicly back those who commit child sex crimes. 

Imagine, Bishop Irenee, that you’re a 13 year old boy who’s being molested by his soccer coach, or a 12 year old girl who’s being molested by her uncle. In each case, the predator tells the child “If you speak up, no one will listen or believe you. I’m a popular person around here. Everyone will think you’re lying or crazy.”

Then this Wednesday, that boy or girl walks into the benefit concert in Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa. He or she asks “Who does this concert benefit” and learns that perhaps dozens of adults are publicly backing an archbishop who was found guilty in a court of law of sexually abusing a child. Imagine how that boy or girl will feel! And imagine how unlikely it is that the boy or girl will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.

Let’s get more specific. Two men courageously came forward and accused an Orthodox priest (who later became an archbishop) of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. Their already great pain was amplified when a vocal group of Orthodox dismissed their testimony and instead rallied behind the accused, and now convicted, archbishop.

Imagine how these victims, their family and friends will feel when they find out about this fundraiser. And imagine how they will feel when they realize that you could have done something but instead did nothing.

You can try to stop this. You can try to spare others more pain. If you try, you may even succeed. You can certainly denounce this event publicly and deter people from attending. 

Bishop Irenee, this isn’t rocket science. It’s simple compassion. It’s simple justice. And it’s simple abuse prevention.

So we are asking you to take five steps.

-- publicly denounce the March 5th event, and use your influence to persuade the event organizers to cancel the concert,

-- forbid employees and discourage parishioners of the Archdiocese of Canada from attending it,

-- post and distribute copies of a brochure called “What to do when your priest is accused,”

-- do all you can to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes, and

-- aggressively reach out to anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Archbishop Seraphim or any other employee of the Archdiocese of Canada.

If you do nothing, you are siding with a criminal and re-victimizing a victim. Staying silent about such a callous event directly contradicts every pledge made to treat child sex abuse victims with compassion.

Victims who’ve been sexually violated by employees of the Archdiocese of Canada should not have to see or hear about Orthodox publicly raising money for a convicted criminal. Again, we urge you to at least publicly denounce this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.

People who want to support the archbishop should do so privately and not publicly in ways that scare and depress other child sex abuse victims into staying silent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (cappy@rlarson.com)

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

*****

The United Church of Canada
3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300
Toronto, ON  M8X 2Y4 Canada

SENT BY FAX and EMAIL:

Fax: 416-231-3103

Email: info@united-church.ca

 

February 27, 2014

Re: Fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

To Whom It May Concern:

On Wednesday, March 5th, a benefit concert will be held in one of the parishes of the United Church of Canada. The monies raised at Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa will be used to support Archbishop Seraphim Storheim.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

The archbishop was convicted last month of child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced later this spring.

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

We are worried that this event will be terribly hurtful to the two men who accused Archbishop Seraphim of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. We are also worried that other child sex abuse victims will be discouraged and depressed when they see adults publicly rallying around and raising money for a convicted criminal. And we are worried that ignoring this callous injustice will encourage others in the future to publicly back those who commit child sex crimes. 

Imagine that you’re a 13 year old boy who’s being molested by his soccer coach, or a 12 year old girl who’s being molested by her uncle. In each case, the predator tells the child “If you speak up, no one will listen or believe you. I’m a popular person around here. Everyone will think you’re lying or crazy.”

Then this Wednesday, that boy or girl walks into the benefit concert in the Woodroffe parish. He or she asks “Who does this concert benefit” and learns that perhaps dozens of adults are publicly backing an archbishop who was found guilty in a court of law of sexually abusing a child. Imagine how that boy or girl will feel. And imagine how unlikely it is that the boy or girl will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.

Let’s get more specific. Two men courageously came forward and accused an Orthodox priest (who later became an archbishop) of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. Their already great pain was amplified when a vocal group of Orthodox dismissed their testimony and instead rallied behind the accused, and now convicted, archbishop.

Imagine how these victims, their family and friends will feel when they find out about this fundraiser. And imagine how they will feel when they realize that you could have done something but instead did nothing.

You can try to stop this. You can try to spare others more pain. If you try, you may even succeed. You can certainly denounce this event publicly and deter your people from attending. 

This isn’t rocket science. It’s simple compassion. It’s simple justice. And it’s simple abuse prevention.

So we are asking you to take three steps:

-- publicly denounce the March 5th event, and do what you can to prevent the concert from going forward in your Ottawa church,

-- forbid your employees and discourage your parishioners from attending, and

-- do all you can to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes.

If you do nothing, you are siding with a criminal and re-victimizing a victim. Again, we urge you to at least publicly denounce this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.

People who want to support the archbishop should do so privately and not publicly in ways that scare and depress other child sex abuse victims into staying silent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (415-637-2006 cell, cappy@rlarson.com)

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

*****

Rev. Jan Lougheed

Rev. Matt Gallinger

Woodroffe United Church

207 Woodroffe Avenue
Ottawa, ON K2A 3V1 Canada

SENT BY FAX and EMAIL:

Fax: 613 722-6712

Email: wuch@woodroffeunited.org, jlough@rogers.com, matt@woodroffeunited.org

February 27, 2014

Re: Fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Rev. Lougheed and Rev. Gallinger:

As you are no doubt aware, on Wednesday, March 5th, a benefit concert will be held in your church. The monies raised at Woodroffe United Church will be used to support Archbishop Seraphim Storheim.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

You may not realize that last month the archbishop was convicted of child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced later this spring.

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

We are worried that this event will be terribly hurtful to the two men who accused Archbishop Seraphim of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. We are also worried that other child sex abuse victims will be discouraged and depressed when they see adults publicly rallying around and raising money for a convicted criminal. And we are worried that ignoring this callous injustice will encourage others in the future to publicly back those who commit child sex crimes. 

Imagine that you’re a 13 year old boy who’s being molested by his soccer coach, or a 12 year old girl who’s being molested by her uncle. In each case, the predator tells the child “If you speak up, no one will listen or believe you. I’m a popular person around here. Everyone will think you’re lying or crazy.”

Then this Wednesday, that boy or girl walks into the benefit concert in your parish. He or she asks “Who does this concert benefit” and learns that perhaps dozens of adults are publicly backing an archbishop who was found guilty in a court of law of sexually abusing a child. Imagine how that boy or girl will feel. And imagine how unlikely it is that the boy or girl will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.

Let’s get more specific. Two men courageously came forward and accused an Orthodox priest (who later became an archbishop) of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. Their already great pain was amplified when a vocal group of Orthodox dismissed their testimony and instead rallied behind the accused, and now convicted, archbishop.

Imagine how these victims, their family and friends will feel when they find out about this fundraiser. And imagine how they will feel when they realize that you could have done something but instead did nothing.

You can try to stop this. You can try to spare others more pain. If you try, you may even succeed. You can certainly denounce this event publicly and deter your people from attending. 

This isn’t rocket science. It’s simple compassion. It’s simple justice. And it’s simple abuse prevention.

So we are asking you to take three steps:

-- publicly denounce the March 5th event, and do what you can to prevent the concert from going forward in your church,

-- forbid your employees and discourage your parishioners from attending this event, and

-- do all you can to prevent others from holding similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes.

If you do nothing, you are siding with a criminal and re-victimizing a victim. Again, we urge you to at least publicly denounce this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.

People who want to support the archbishop should do so privately and not publicly in ways that scare and depress other child sex abuse victims into staying silent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (cappy@rlarson.com)

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

***** 

Richard Wilson, President

Jonathan Green, Provost and Dean of Faculty

Mario Pelusi, Director of the School of Music

Illinois Wesleyan University

1312 Park Street

Bloomington, IL 61701

SENT BY FAX and EMAIL:

Fax: 309- 556-3970

Email: president@iwu.edu, provost@iwu.edu, mpelusi@iwu.edu

February 27, 2014

Re: Fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Sirs:

As you may know, on Wednesday, March 5th, a benefit concert will be given by the Illinois Wesleyan Piano Quartet at Woodroffe United Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. According to the event announcement, “members of the Ensemble are Professors in Illinois Wesleyan University in the United States.”

http://archbishopseraphim.org/concert_in_ottawa

What you may not know is the concert is a fundraiser for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim. The archbishop was convicted last month of child sexual abuse. He will be sentenced later this spring.

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

We are worried that this event will be terribly hurtful to the two men who accused Archbishop Seraphim of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. We are also worried that other child sex abuse victims will be discouraged and depressed when they see adults publicly rallying around and raising money for a convicted criminal. And we are worried that ignoring this callous injustice will encourage others in the future to publicly back those who commit child sex crimes. 

Imagine that you’re a 13 year old boy who’s being molested by his soccer coach, or a 12 year old girl who’s being molested by her uncle. In each case, the predator tells the child “If you speak up, no one will listen or believe you. I’m a popular person around here. Everyone will think you’re lying or crazy.”

Then this Wednesday, that boy or girl walks into the benefit concert. He or she asks “Who does this concert benefit” and learns that perhaps dozens of adults are publicly backing an archbishop who was found guilty in a court of law of sexually abusing a child. Imagine how that boy or girl will feel! And imagine how unlikely it is that the boy or girl will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect others.

Let’s get more specific. Two men courageously came forward and accused an Orthodox priest (who later became an archbishop) of sexually abusing them when they were only eleven years old. Their already great pain was amplified when a vocal group of Orthodox dismissed their testimony and instead rallied behind the accused, and now convicted, archbishop.

Imagine how these victims, their family and friends will feel when they find out about this fundraiser. And imagine how they will feel when they realize that you could have done something but instead did nothing.

You can try to stop this. You can try to spare others more pain. If you try, you may even succeed. You can certainly denounce this event publicly. 

Gentlemen, this isn’t rocket science. It’s simple compassion. It’s simple justice. And it’s simple abuse prevention.

So we are asking you to take three steps:

-- publicly denounce the March 5th event,

-- forbid your employees from participating in the event, and

-- do all you can to prevent your employees from participating in similar events supporting those convicted of committing child sex crimes.

If you do nothing, you are siding with a criminal and re-victimizing a victim. Again, we urge you to at least publicly denounce this kind of incredibly insensitive and intimidating behavior.

People who want to support the archbishop should do so privately and not publicly in ways that scare and depress other child sex abuse victims into staying silent.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Cappy Larson of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (cappy@rlarson.com)

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

 

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