A Michigan Orthodox bishop is on leave and can’t work as a priest following allegations of sexual misconduct. On Tuesday, Dearborn Heights Archbishop Nathaniel Popp publicly disclosed that his auxiliary bishop, Right Rev Irineu Duvlea, is under investigation for sexual misconduct. In a statement, Popp said that Duvlea, 53, is presumed innocent, but is now on leave and is banned from working until the investigation is complete. The church didn’t announce any information about potential victims. Popp added that the investigation is highly confidential and urged his followers not to speak about the matter. Popp said in the announcement, “No one should discuss the investigation with anyone”. Duvlea served as the Bishop of Dearborn Heights and auxiliary bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said they welcomed the fact that Popp made the investigation public. However, the group feels the archbishop isn’t going far enough because the investigation remains confidential. Melanie Jula Sakoda, the Orthodox Director for SNAP, said in a statement, “Investigations into sexual misconduct should always be made public, and I was very pleased to see that Archbishop Nathaniel had made this announcement. Such disclosures encourage others who experienced witnessed or suspected abuse to come forward”. Cappy Larson, also of SNAP Orthodox, added, “The Church should also supply additional information. Did the misconduct involve a parishioner? If so, was the victim a child, an adult, a male, a female? How many victims have come forward? More complete disclosure can help to jog memories and reassure other survivors, producing additional testimony and evidence”. Duvlea was a monk in Romania before he came to the United States in 2001. He founded The Ascension of The Lord Monastery in Clinton MI. He was the head of the Western States Vicariate of the OCA Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. His territory included parishes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Oregon, and Washington.
3 September 2015
Dearborn (MI) Press and Guide
This legal threat appeared as a comment:
My ACLU attorneys (email@example.com) will contact you today for clarifications regarding the allegations done against me for church political gains. + Irineu, Bishop of Detroit, ROEA, OCA.
If the above comment is on the up and square, it shows that Irineu is an arrogant son of a bitch. You simply don’t make such implied threats in the USA. He can’t sue me for pointing that up. The last thing that he needs is an unsuccessful legal action. If his lawyer told him to do this, he has incompetent counsel. No, we won’t be silent! Who accused Duvlea of misconduct? When did the alleged incident take place? It smells as if the OCA is trying to sweep this under the rug. They tried doing that with Storheim and it blew up in their face.
Remember the nasty tactics used by Gindin, Storheim’s shyster? One wonders, is Duvlea’s counsel going to do the same? That is, are they going to smear the accuser in public in an attempt to discredit them? It didn’t work in Winnipeg… although that bastard Gindin did his best to bad-dog and attack Storheim’s accusers. Storheim ended up convicted, and Mr Justice Mainella, the judge involved, was rather emphatic in his condemnation of Storheim and totally trashed Storheim’s credibility in public. Duvlea had best watch his step. This isn’t Romania… it’s the USA, where the judiciary wouldn’t be inclined to help any putative coverup.
Duvlea’s lawyers can’t sue me for the above. However, his clumsy “comment”, if genuine, shows a total lack of understanding of the American legal system, and of how it works. If it’s secret, there’s no real investigation. Full stop. An MP priest once asked me, “Which of the OCA bishops isn’t reputed to be gay?” Antics like this don’t help such questions. Come clean, Nathanael. If not, it just may come to haunt you…
If Duvlea’s lawyers attempt to pressure me legally, I’ll be sure to post on it and tell you. After all, a threat of a lawsuit is a public action, it’s an “act of public record”, and I’d have every right to publicise it. Just a friendly word of advice… do be cool.