IL - Offending bishop may be returned to ministry

A support group for clergy sex abuse victims has learned that sexual misconduct accusations against a Chicago bishop have been deemed “credible” by Orthodox church officials, but the bishop may be returned to active ministry later.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, want him to be permanently ousted.

Orthodox Church in America (OCA) officials have determined that misconduct allegations against Chicago Bishop Matthias Moriak are ''credible." However, despite this finding, the OCA will consider returning Moriak to active ministry after treatment and a period of “mentoring” by another bishop.

A written complaint was filed against Moriak on August 24, 2012, alleging that text and email messages he sent to a woman were inappropriate. The bishop was placed on a leave of absence, and a “response team” was formed to investigate the allegations, which Moriak denied.

"While there was no allegations of physical contact in this case, when clerics violate professional boundaries there is always the chance for grave harm, even when the victim is an adult," said Melanie Jula Sakoda of SNAP. "Not that long ago, another adult abused by an OCA priest took his own life. It is reckless and callous of the OCA to put other vulnerable adults at risk.”

SNAP’s Cappy Larson added, “Moreover, it concerns us that Bishop Matthias still does not appear to accept responsibility for his own actions. I’m just not sure that a round of therapy and mentoring will be able to teach the bishop appropriate boundaries when he apparently has not absorbed this lesson during the first 63 years of his life.”

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant