NY- Clergy sex abuse victims beg synod to defrock archbishop

For immediate release:  Monday, March 17, 2014

For more information: Melanie Jula Sakoda (925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com), Cappy Larson (cappy@rlarson.com), 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:

Dear Sirs: 

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 (cappy@rlarson.com)

Melanie Jula Sakoda of Moraga, CA, SNAP Orthodox Director (925-708-6175 cell, melanie.sakoda@gmail.com)

Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard, Tel: 516-922-0550

Orthodox Church in America

P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791

Fax: 516-922-0954

Email: metropolitan@oca.org 

Archbishop Nathaniel Popp, Tel: 517-522-4800

PO Box 309
Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309

Fax: 517-522-5907
Email: nathaniel@roea.org

Archbishop Nikon Liolin, Tel: 508-764-3222

PO Box 149
Southbridge, MA 01550

Email: bpnikon@aol.com 

Archbishop Benjamin Peterson, Tel: 415-567- 9378

1520 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94123

Email: vikenty@msn.com

Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera, Tel: 5784-5198

Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520

Fax: 5784-5198
Email: obispoalejo@yahoo.com.mx

Bishop Melchisedek Pleska, Tel: 724-776-5555

PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769

Fax: 724-776-5555
Email: melchisedek999@yahoo.com

Bishop Michael Dahulich, Tel: 914-779-6580

33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville, NY 10708

Fax: 914-779-6581
Email: bishopmichael@nynjoca.org

Bishop Alexander Golitzin, Tel: 419-693-9540

519 Brynhaven Dr.
Oregon, OH 43616

Fax: 419-693-9541
Email: alexander@bdoca.org

Bishop David Mahaffey, Tel: 907-538-9318

7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage, AK 99504-1899

Fax: 907-677-0646
Email: otyetz@hotmail.com


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  • Steven Clark
    commented 2014-03-18 11:52:36 -0500
    The article faults the OCA for not defrocking the Archbishop immediately. Yet the spring meeting of the Holy Synod (where such a thing is discussed and done or not done) is only now beginning. It could not have happened “weeks ago” While I support their efforts, they need to get real. “Weeks ago” is not, nor was not, possible. They are demeaning their call for action by making hysterical appeals.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-03-17 08:22:43 -0500

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