PA--Predator bishop is back on the job; Victims object
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Statement from Cappy Larson, Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
“Predator” bishop still on the job
Deemed guilty by colleagues, he’s now in a parish
His superiors claims “we haven’t put him to work there”
But controversial cleric is listed on PA church’s website
SNAP sends harsh message to hierarchs now meeting in Atlanta
“Block this dangerous, deceptive and callous move,” group pleads
A Chicago bishop found guilty of sexual misconduct and forced him to retire by his colleagues is now in charge of a western Pennsylvania parish and a support group for victims wants him ousted
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) about Bishop Matthias Moriak who once headed the Chicago diocese. Moriak was retired by the synod of bishops in April 2013, after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct.
SNAP wants church officials to oust the bishop from active ministry.
Moriak recently began working in a parish in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. The OCA’s chancellor says that another bishop asked Moriak to take the position, but that this assignment had not been approved. He went on to say that the OCA synod would be meeting to consider the terms of Moriak’s retirement.
Members of SNAP have written to the synod pleading with them to put the kibosh on this assignment. All of the bishops are in Atlanta from July 20-24, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, for their national council. The complete text of the letter, sent earlier today by email, can be found below.
The parish in western Pennsylvania belongs to the Romanian Episcopate of the OCA. That diocese is led by Archbishop Nathaniel Popp of Michigan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Popp is the longest serving hierarch on the OCA’s synod.
“Even when a clergyman engages in sexual misconduct with an adult, the resulting damage can be serious,” said Cappy Larson, the Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP. “In the 16 years I have been working with victims, two who were abused as adults were in such pain that they chose to end their own lives.”
David Clohessy, the Executive Director of SNAP, added, “While it’s true that the young woman who complained about Bishop Matthias rebuffed him and then reported him, another victim might not be so clearheaded.”
“The OCA synod should have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct,” concluded Larson. “Bishop Matthias does not belong in active ministry.”
The OCA had at one time considered returning Moriak to his former position, and SNAP had objected at the time. The victims’ group had assumed the synod had seriously considered the ramifications of such a move when several months later they instead asked for the Chicago bishop’s retirement.
July 21, 2015
Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
Archbishop Nathaniel Popp
PO Box 309
Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309
Archbishop Nikon Liolin
PO Box 149
Southbridge, MA 01550
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson
1520 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94123
Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera
Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520
Archbishop Melchisedek Pleska
PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-1769
Bishop Mark Maymon
144 St Tikhon's Road
Waymart, PA 18472
Bishop Irenee Rochon
15 LeBreton St. N.
Ottawa, ON K1R 7H1
Bishop Michael Dahulich
33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville, NY 10708
Bishop Alexander Golitzin
519 Brynhaven Dr.
Oregon, OH 43616
Bishop David Mahaffey
7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage, AK 99504-1899
Bishop Paul Gassios
933 N. La Salle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60610-3204
Re: Reassigning Bishop Matthias Moriak to Active Ministry
We are members of a victims’ group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are writing to you today because we are concerned over the assignment of Bishop Matthias Moriak to the Romanian parish in Hermitage, Pennsylvania.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Bishop Nathaniel Popp made this assignment unilaterally, and it has not been approved by the synod as a whole. The piece goes on to say that you are meeting to consider the terms of Bishop Matthias’ retirement
The OCA has made great strides in addressing the issue of clergy sexual misconduct, and we beg you, don’t approve this dangerous, deceptive and callous move. While it’s true that the young woman who complained about Bishop Matthias rebuffed him and then reported him, another victim might not be so clearheaded. The consequences of the sexual abuse of an adult by a trusted clergyman can be absolutely devastating, even deadly .
Please, continue your denomination’s progress. Let the OCA have zero tolerance for clergy sexual misconduct. Bishop Matthias does not belong in active ministry.