Storheim was OCA’s Highest Ranking Cleric in Canada: Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting a Young Boy
SNAP to church officials: “You’re breaking your own abuse policy”
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Members of an abuse survivors’ group are urging OCA 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 NY 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. …”
Cappy Larson of SNAP said, “This is a no-brainer and should’ve happened weeks ago. 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. Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, said, “Let’s make sure that this convicted child molester can never again use his religious titles or roles to get access to and hurt another child”.
From 1990 until his suspension in November of 2010, Storheim headed the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada, based in Ottawa ON. Prior to that, he worked in Edmonton AB, Winnipeg MB, London ON, Charlotte NC in the USA, and in Finland.
The text of SNAP’s letter, sent today by fax and email to nine bishops (names at bottom), is here:
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 first-hand 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.
St Louis MO, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
(314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
San Francisco CA, SNAP Orthodox Director
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Moraga CA, SNAP Orthodox Director
(925-708-6175 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard
Orthodox Church in America
PO Box 675
Syosset NY 11791
(516) 922 0550
(516) 922 0954
Archbishop Nathaniel Popp
PO Box 309
Grass Lake MI 49240-0309
(517) 522 4800
(517) 522 5907
Archbishop Nikon Liolin
PO Box 149
Southbridge MA 01550
(508) 764 3222
Archbishop Benjamin Peterson
1520 Green St
San Francisco CA 94123
(415) 567 9378
Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera
Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53
Col Penon De Los Banos
Mexico, DF 15520
Bishop Melchisedek Pleska
PO Box 1769
Cranberry Township PA 16066-1769
Bishop Michael Dahulich
33 Hewitt Ave
Bronxville NY 10708
(914) 779 6580
(914) 779 6581
Bishop Alexander Golitzin
519 Brynhaven Drive
Oregon OH 43616
Bishop David Mahaffey
7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage AK 99504-1899
17 March 2014
SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Do make your voice heard… that’s why the contact info is here. We shouldn’t have a convicted criminal as a bishop. By the way, he wouldn’t be “laicised”; he’d be stripped of the episcopate. The Church only allows “one punishment” per crime. That is, deposition from the episcopate entails reduction in rank to the ordinary priesthood. The Mother Church had an analogous case in Vladimir Oblast (the problem was a priest, not a bishop). It didn’t go to court because the ruling bishop acted with dispatch… you see, the Moscow tabs got wind of it, publicised it, which galvanised the Patriarch into action, who built a fire under the local bishop. The local bishop forbade the priest involved to have contact with children and fired him from his post (which satisfied the Prokuratura, which didn’t bring a criminal case). That is, the Church punished the perp, so, there wasn’t need for a trial. Had the OCA done likewise, there wouldn’t have been all this shitstorm.
Contact the bishops… state your mind… state it clearly… demand that they follow their own rules. Then, they should send Seraphim off to a monastery with no access to children (which is, I believe, what the Canadian government really wants). That’s fair to everybody.
For God’s sake, let it not be “business as usual!” However, the news that the Holy Synod chose the unsuitable Mark Maymon (he disobeyed Philip Saliba’s direct orders… therefore, he’s unfit to serve as ruler of a doghouse, let alone a diocese) as a ruling bishop gives me little hope. If the Holy Synod elevates disobedient and hubristic SOBs to its dioceses (what’s more, someone championed by the questionable Paffhausen and who had an anti-Orthodox un-Christian Evangelical formation)… it’s quite possible that they’d be impervious to reason and logic. However, we MUST make an effort. We shall see…