IL and NY—Suspension of Orthodox bishop retired for sexual misconduct lifted, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
A former Orthodox bishop from Chicago, who voluntarily retired in April of 2013 after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with a young woman parishioner, had his suspension lifted effective March 1, 2017.
SNAP, the Survivors Network, is concerned that this means the bishop may again be returning to active ministry. The bishop was briefly brought out of retirement in 2015.
Bishop Matthias Moriak, who at one time headed the Chicago Diocese of the New York based Orthodox Church in America (OCA), was suspended in his retirement on October 11, 2016.
Although no reason was given for this suspension, Moriak sued the OCA in October of 2015. His lawsuit alleged that his removal from a parish assignment in Pennsylvania in response to complaints from SNAP violated contractual arrangements. The lawsuit was settled in March of 2017.
Now that the suit is over and Bishop Matthias is no longer suspended, we are afraid that he will again be given a parish assignment. While there was no allegation of physical contact in this case and the young woman reported the behavior, another parishioner might not be so clearheaded. The consequences of the sexual abuse of an adult by a trusted clergyman can be absolutely devastating, even deadly.
The OCA has made great strides in addressing the issue of clergy sexual misconduct, and we hope it will continue to progress. We urge church officials to have zero tolerance for clergy sexual misconduct and to keep Bishop Matthias out of active ministry.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. 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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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