Canada- Ottawa parish responded quickly to victims’ request for help
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
Ottawa parish responded quickly to victims’ request for help
Fundraiser for convicted archbishop cancelled or postponed
He was brought to trial last year, accused of molesting 11 year old twin boys
SNAP: “We fear concert is merely postponed, so we hope the other groups we contacted will also step up to the plate"
"Public support for proven molesters is wrong because it deters victims of other child sex crimes from speaking up,” victims say
A victims’ group is grateful that an Ottawa Orthodox parish responded swiftly to their plea for assistance. The church cancelled a fundraiser to benefit an archbishop who was convicted last month of molesting an altar boy, and assured the group that they would never allow it to take place in their facility. However, the event organizers appear undeterred by this set-back.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, were upset about a planned March 5th event to raise money for Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was found guilty last month of abusing one of the twins. Storheim is the former head of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). He is suspended by the OCA while he awaits church discipline for his crimes.
Yesterday, SNAP wrote four church institutions connected with the event. The group said the event “hurt at least one child sex abuse victim and deterred other child sex abuse victims from speaking up.” Later during the day, the website promoting the event posted that “The chamber music concert on March 5 at Woodroffe United Church is cancelled due to the change of schedule.”
The proposed fundraiser was sponsored by what SNAP calls “a small but loud group which keeps supporting a convicted child molester.” While it's not exactly clear who is responsible for this group's website, its webmaster is Alexander Ovodov (604-904-9550, [email protected]). Ovodov is a parishioner at Sobor of the Holy Resurrection in Vancouver, British Columbia (Rector: Archpriest Mikhail Fourik 604-325-1922 work, 604-322-0024 home, [email protected]).
SNAP sent letters denouncing this event to the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada, the United Church of Canada and to the Woodroffe parish on the morning of February 27th. The correspondence asked all of the groups for their help in preventing this hurtful fundraiser from going forward.
The victims’ group received a phone call from Rev. Jan Lougheed (Work 613 722-9250 x226, Cell 613-799-6238, [email protected], jlough[email protected]) of the Woodroffe parish shortly thereafter. The minister said that she was not aware that the concert was to support Storheim, that her church does not support him, and that the event was cancelled. The cancellation subsequently was noted on the event organizers’ website.
"Unfortunately, this looks more like a postponement - not a cancellation – by the event organizers. We hope we're wrong, but we suspect that this event will simply be re-scheduled in another venue," said Melanie Jula Sakoda of SNAP.
Cappy Larson added, “We hope that the other groups that we contacted will also step up to the plate and help us. While they can’t prevent people from supporting the archbishop privately, they can and should at least denounce any public benefits for Archbishop Seraphim. They should also use their power to forbid their employees and discourage their parishioners from participating in any such event.”
Storheim is free on bail until his sentencing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)