Former Connecticut State Representative reports sexual, psychological, and physical abuse by two Greek Orthodox bishops
He also accuses one of the hierarchs of financial improprieties
For immediate release: November 1, 2023
John Metsopoulos is coming forward to report sexual harassment, as well as physical and psychological abuse, by Metropolitan Athenagoras Aneste (George Angelo Aneste), Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Mexico and Central America. John also accuses Metropolitan Athenagoras of financial improprieties. In addition, John accuses the now deceased Metropolitan of Chicago, Iakovos Garmatis (Michael Garmatis) of sexually assaulting him when he was a child in Connecticut. The accusations against Metropolitan Athenagoras occurred from 2017-2019, and the abuse by Metropolitan Garmatis in 1970. Parts of this outcry have been up on the SNAP website for almost a year.
Studies show that false claims of abuse are extremely rare. Moreover, SNAP has also received information concerning Metropolitan Athenagoras from a now deceased Orthodox priest in Haiti, Fr. Michael Graves, that contain similar accusations, but were written years earlier.
John is a former Connecticut state representative (132nd district, 1984-94), as well as a former first selectman (mayor) of Fairfield, Connecticut (1999-2003). He also comes from a devout family long involved with the Greek Orthodox Church. John says when Metropolitan Iakovos assaulted him at age 13 while visiting John’s family in Trumbull, he convinced himself he had not been hurt. In 2017, when Metropolitan Athenagoras asked for help in running his charities, John quickly sold his business and joined him in Mexico City. He later provided the Metropolitan with loans for his charities totaling $10,000. Metropolitan Athenagoras was a family friend whom John met in the United States as a 15-year-old.
After two years of working with Metropolitan Athenagoras, in the summer of 2019, the Metropolitan invited John into his office and asked him to sit across from him in a low chair. This placed the Metropolitan's genital area directly in John's line of sight. Metropolitan Athenagoras then spread his legs, displaying an erection.
“I thought to myself that there must be a reason for this. He had told me I had the faith and innocence of a child.”
John hesitated a few seconds, horrified, trying to understand what was going on. Then he quickly left the room, confused and deeply shaken. To this day, he remembers exactly what Metropolitan Athenagoras was wearing: a gray cardigan, white shirt, black slacks and black loafers.
A few mornings later, the Metropolitan phoned him.
“He asked me to come over for coffee in my underwear,” says John, an offer he refused. He remembers being in his plaid pajama bottoms and red tee shirt when he received the call.
“My life has been decimated. My faith has been destroyed,” John concluded.
As director of One World One Community, Metropolitan Athenagoras’ California-based charity, and treasurer of the Chicago-based Orthodox Church Mission, John soon discovered that the Metropolitan’s claim that his charities had funded both a church and a school in Haiti were false. Also untrue was the Metropolitan’s promise to use a $100,000 donation from Assumption Church in Danbury, Connecticut, to establish a candle-making business to employ Mexican workers. The pastor in Danbury at the time was Fr. Peter Karloutsos. John says that there are documents showing the funds were used instead to renovate Metropolitan Athenagoras’ residence.
John further reports that before he recognized the Metropolitan’s duplicity and corruption, he asked fundraiser Heidi Hartt of Norwalk, Connecticut, to volunteer. She declined upon discovering that One World One Community’s funds may not have gone to charitable causes. Similarly, Barbara Segal, a grant writer, refused John’s request to write grants for the charity, saying that no grants would be awarded when only two people served on the charity’s board. Both individuals are willing to corroborate John’s testimony.
When John raised these issues with Metropolitan Athenagoras, the hierarch hit him with his mitre. Ultimately, the Metropolitan fired and evicted John, who is still owed $15,000 for his last four months of wages, in addition to the $10,000 in loans.
John’s outcries to the Greek Orthodox hierarchy and Greek American organizations have gone unheeded. He is now living in Central America. His email is [email protected] and he is available for interviews on ZOOM.
CONTACT: Gail Howard, SNAP Connecticut ([email protected], 203-644-0387), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)