A Manitoba judge ruled Tuesday that two brothers who say that an Orthodox priest sexually abused them would have their testimony considered jointly. The decision by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Christopher Mainella at the trial of Seraphim Storheim isn’t what the defence had hoped to hear. It means that the court could use each brother’s testimony about separate alleged sexual encounters with Storheim in considering the other’s allegations. Mainella said, “The probative value of the evidence … outweighs its potential prejudice”.
The two complainants were preteens in the summer of 1985 when they were sent, on separate occasions, to live and work as altar boys with Storheim in Winnipeg. A publication ban mandates that the brothers, now in their 30s, must remain anonymous. The men have already told the trial Storheim walked around naked and asked them to touch him sexually. One brother’s memory was vague and sometimes contradictory. He testified he suffers from mental illness and is on several medications. The other brother’s testimony was much clearer. He told the trial that Storheim would sometimes lie on the floor and touch himself. He also testified Storheim once combed through his pelvic area, searching for pubic hairs, as he sat naked on a bed.
Normally, testimony about separate alleged incidents remains separate, so as not to prejudice a judge or jury. However, the judge granted a similar-fact evidence application from the Crown to have each brother’s testimony used in the other’s case. Mainella ruled that the court needs the move because the complaints stem from the same time and bear similar characteristics about Storheim’s alleged actions. The judge alone is trying the case. Earlier, defence lawyer Jeff Gindin hinted that he’d consider moving that the court dismiss one of the charges… the one involving the brother with the vague memory. Tuesday’s ruling makes that unlikely.
The next step is to set dates for the defence to present its case. Outside court, Gindin said it is “quite likely” that he’d call witnesses, but he wouldn’t say whether Storheim would testify. Storheim, now in his 60s, worked as an OCA priest in Alberta, North Carolina, London ON, and other areas. He became the church’s top cleric in Canada in 2007. The OCA has 700 churches and other facilities across North America and is separate from other Orthodox religions such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
18 June 2013
As quoted in Brandon Sun
One of the Cabinet observed:
The Crown Court made a ruling. It’s getting bad for Storheim; I’ll bet they’re burning files in Syosset.
Quite. This will shred not only the OCA’s cred, but also that of Jillions and Lyonyo. Will Lyonyo throw Jillions under the bus? After all, he has more stones than Mollard does. However, even if Lyonyo deep-sixes Jillions, his failure to contain the fire still stains him. After all, he had the duty to see to it that Mollard did SOMETHING… and Lyonyo sat stunned in the headlights whilst Mollard drooled away merrily (as per usual). Lyonyo has too many enemies… Jillions has too few friends. Someone will pay for this mess… and Lyonyo will do his best to see that it isn’t him.
Perspirin’ minds wanna know… what’ll happen to Pihach? Is he suddenly going to receive a hankering to remain in the Rodina? Will he get the itch to get a canonical release to become a clergyman of the Mother Church? Interesting, no?
Oh… one last thing… there’s NOTHING on oca.org on this matter. What did you expect from Lil’ Mizz Ginny anyway? She’s a PR flack, not a true journalist. That’s clear even to the feebleminded…