ME--Group wants investigation into child molesting cleric
For immediate release: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
A support group is calling for an investigation into how a priest convicted of a child sex crime got a job at a Maine church.
The New York-based Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) and its bishop in Boston are being sued by a young man who was molested in Maine as a 15 year old altar boy by a priest who is now behind bars. The newly filed civil lawsuit charges that church officials were negligent in supervising the cleric, who had been convicted of a child sexual crime before he was ordained.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say they are “very grateful to the victim for having the courage to hold those who enabled his perpetrator accountable.”
Despite a 1983 conviction for child sexual abuse in Michigan, Father Adam Metropoulos was ordained a priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), Metropolis of Boston. He worked at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church in Bangor, Maine, for more than a dozen years (from September of 2001 until his arrest on September 15, 2014).
In March of 2015, Metropoulos was found guilty in criminal court a second time for the sexual abuse of his former altar boy. He was sentenced to serve six and a half years in prison for his crimes.
The twice convicted priest was defrocked by church officials on July 13, 2015.
(The announcement appeared in the October, 2015, Orthodox Observer, page 3)
The civil lawsuit was filed on May 20th. The victim is represented by Lewiston attorney Verne Paradies.
Melanie Jula Sakoda, one of the two Orthodox Christian Directors for SNAP, hopes that the lawsuit will get to the bottom of how a convicted pedophile was able become a Greek priest.
“I just don’t understand how church officials let this predator become a priest. If the Michigan conviction was uncovered, he shouldn’t have been ordained. If they didn’t check, shame on them!” she said.
Cappy Larson, the other Orthodox Christian Director for the survivors’ group, chimed in, “It breaks my heart that this young man was hurt when he didn’t have to be. Who know how many other victims Father Adam may have had! Not only was he in the Bangor parish for 13 years, but he also worked at the diocesan summer camp in New Hampshire!!”
“We hope that this lawsuit encourages others who were hurt to come forward, report what they know, and start healing,” said Sakoda.
“We are very grateful to this brave victim for having the strength to hold those who enabled his perpetrator accountable,” added Larson.
Greek officials’ contact information:
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. 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.
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.