For immediate release: Monday, March 17, 2014
For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, email@example.com), Cappy Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Clergy sex abuse victims beg synod to defrock archbishop
He was Orthodox Church’s highest ranking cleric in Canada
But he was just found guilty of sexually assaulting a young boy
SNAP to church officials: “You're breaking your own abuse policy”
Members of an abuse survivors' group are urging Orthodox Church officials to defrock Canada's highest ranking archbishop who has been found guilty of molesting a child.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that the denomination's panel which is responsible for disciplining clergymen is breaking church policy by not permanently ousting Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was convicted in January of sexually violating an 11 year old boy.
The synod of bishops of the Long Island based Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will begin its spring session in Syosset, New York, tomorrow. Among the items on their agenda are further “decisions” concerning Storheim.
The Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct, approved by the OCA’s synod at their Fall 2013 meeting, state that “Any clergy ... found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. ..."
“This is a no-brainer and should have happened weeks ago,” said Cappy Larson of SNAP. “Both Archbishop Seraphim's guilt and church policy are crystal clear. Church officials' delays and indecision are helping a criminal and hurting his victims.”
SNAP is writing to the synod, pleading with them to enforce their abuse policy and “make sure that this convicted child molester can never again use his religious titles or roles to get access to and hurt another child,” said Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP.
From 1990 until his suspension in November of 2010, Storheim headed the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada and was based in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to that he worked in Edmonton and other cities in Alberta, Winnipeg in Manitoba, London, also in Ontario, Charlotte, North Carolina in the United States, and in Finland.
The text of SNAP's letter, sent today by fax and email to 9 bishops (names at bottom), is here:
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim was convicted of the sexual abuse of an 11 year old boy on January 24, 2014. Section 10.05(B) of your newly adopted Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct states clearly that, “Any Clergy who ... is found to have committed child sexual abuse … shall be deposed by the Holy Synod of Bishops, and shall be permanently prohibited from exercising any functions or responsibilities of parish ministry. ..."
Please Gentlemen, Archbishop Seraphim has been found guilty in a court of law of child sexual abuse. Although the judge did not find that there was enough evidence to convict the archbishop of abusing the boy’s twin, his allegation is certainly credible and should also be taken into account.
We know that there is a very active group supporting the archbishop and urging you to hold off taking action until any appeals are completed. As members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the three of us know firsthand the devastating effects of child sexual abuse. We are pleading with you to send a strong message to your flocks. If the sexual abuse of children truly is not tolerated in the OCA, defrock Archbishop Seraphim now.
Policies do not protect children. Actions protect children. The archbishop has been convicted. Do the right thing and follow your own guidelines.
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 (email@example.com)
Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (925-708-6175 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, Tel: 516-922-0550
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, Tel: 517-522-4800
PO Box 309
Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309
Archbishop Nikon Liolin, Tel: 508-764-3222
PO Box 149
Southbridge, MA 01550
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson, Tel: 415-567- 9378
1520 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera, Tel: 5784-5198
Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520
Bishop Melchisedek Pleska, Tel: 724-776-5555
PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769
Bishop Michael Dahulich, Tel: 914-779-6580
33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville, NY 10708
Bishop Alexander Golitzin, Tel: 419-693-9540
519 Brynhaven Dr.
Oregon, OH 43616
Bishop David Mahaffey, Tel: 907-538-9318
7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage, AK 99504-1899