AK--New church contact in probe of Kodiak school; victims’ group urges survivors to go to the police instead
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 3, 2015
Statement by Melanie Sakoda of Moraga CA, Orthodox Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (925-708-6175, [email protected])
A new contact person has been designated in the church probe of an Orthodox priest on leave from a school in Kodiak. The clergyman has been accused of abusing current and former students physically, psychologically and spiritually.
On Sunday, March 1, the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia announced on its website that “Reader Bede” will serve as the contact person for a newly created response team. The diocese is investigating complaints of abuse at Saint Innocent’s Academy in preparation for Archpriest Paisius DeLucia’s March 19-21 spiritual court.
A victims’ group is urging survivors to go to the police instead.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is concerned that the Bulgarians are forging ahead with a spiritual court while a police investigation is still pending.
The Executive Director of SNAP, David Clohessy, put it this way.
“What’s the rush? Criminal behavior is best investigated by independent professionals in law enforcement. We hope that anyone who experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse at the academy will report to the police, get help and begin healing.”
Trooper Robert Casey (907-486-4121, robe[email protected]) is in charge of the criminal investigation.
Cappy Larson, also of SNAP, added, “Once again the victims are not being given complete information. While we’re still waiting to learn where Archpriest Paisius is, and who is replacing him at the academy, this new press release from the diocese raises even more questions. What is “Reader Bede’s” legal name, and with which Orthodox jurisdiction is he affiliated? Who else is on the response team and what are their qualifications?”
“I’m glad that the Bulgarians have added someone who at least appears to be more qualified than Bishop Daniil Trendofilow Nikolov as the contact person in their investigation,” chimed in SNAP member Melanie Jula Sakoda. “However, I still don’t understand why the Father Paisius hasn’t been suspended. If that’s the policy, then it should be a no brainer to apply it in every case.”
St. Innocent’s Academy is a ministry of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia.
Metropolitan Joseph Bosakov (212-246-4608 Chancery phone & fax, [email protected]) heads the diocese.