Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 September 2015

Bishop On Leave Pending Sexual Misconduct Investigation

00 irineu duvlea romanian bishop usa 040915

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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

Jodi Rempala

Dearborn (MI) Press and Guide

http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2015/09/03/news/doc55e885e2b4583913052340.txt?viewmode=fullstory

Editor:

This legal threat appeared as a comment:

My ACLU attorneys (aclu@aclumich.org) 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.

BMD

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Friday, 24 July 2015

Canada… Convicted Orthodox Archbishop Released from Prison

get out of jail free community chest

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For more information:

Victims want abusive bishop defrocked

  • He’s been released early from Canadian prison
  • SNAP to hierarchs: “Tell public where the molester is now”
  • Group begs officials to limit his access to kids and parishes
  • “You have a moral duty to disclose and warn families at risk”, victims say

A Canadian archbishop convicted of child sexual abuse has been released from prison early. A support group for victims wants church officials to defrock him, warn families about him, and keep him away from parishes.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Archbishop-Storheim-found-guilty-of-sexually-assaulting-altar-boy-241849391.html

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are writing to the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) about Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was once the church’s highest ranking official in Canada. The OCA Synod suspended Storheim following his arrest in November of 2010. In January 2014, the Synod forced him into retirement after his conviction for child sexual abuse.

SNAP wants church officials to take the next step and defrock the archbishop. The victims’ group has been urging the OCA to do this since the archbishop’s 2014 conviction.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_beg_synod_to_defrock_archbishop

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_defrock_archbishop

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_call_on_orthodox_synod_to_defrock_archbishop_at_their_spring_meeting

According to the website that announced Storheim’s release, he left custody on 7 July 2015, in compliance with the “Statutory Earned (early) Release”. Also according to the site, the authorities removed the conditions and restrictions of his release while his appeal was pending and THERE ARE NO CONDITIONS OR RESTRICTIONS ON THE ARCHBISHOP (Emphasis supplied).

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

However, a group of Canadian parishioners who remain loyal to the disgraced cleric apparently maintains the site.

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/content/canadian-orthodox-history-project

Members of SNAP have written to the synod again pleading with them to defrock Storheim. All of the bishops are in Atlanta from July 20-24, at the Hilton Atlanta Hotel, for their national council. The victims’ group also asked the synod to:

  1. Inform the faithful and the public of the archbishop’s current whereabouts and any restrictions imposed by the Canadian government
  2. Use their authority to restrict Storheim’s access to children and parishes
  3. Caution and alert families at risk, particularly those who believe the archbishop was wrongfully convicted and who may put kids at risk to demonstrate their trust in Storheim

The complete text of the email can be found below.

The sex abuse guidelines of the OCA mandate the removal of those clerics convicted of abusing children. The Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct states 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. …”

http://oca.org/PDF/official/2013-10-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

Melanie Jula Sakoda, the Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP, wants action now. “It’s time for the OCA to remove Archbishop Seraphim from the priesthood.  He’s been convicted and even served his sentence. No more excuses”.

Cappy Larson is the other Orthodox Christian Director for SNAP. She added, “The synod of bishops also needs to make public what they know about the archbishop’s current whereabouts and any conditions of his release. If Archbishop Seraphim is residing in an OCA facility, they need to make sure that he is forbidden to be alone with minors and that he only attends services where authorized.  Even if the Canadian government did not impose any conditions on Archbishop Seraphim’s release, the Church can go the extra mile to protect kids”.

In addition, the Executive Director of SNAP, David Clohessy, urged the bishops to have church officials reach out to every parishioner in Canada, reminding them that children must not be put at risk. “There are people in the archdiocese who believe that the archbishop was wrongfully convicted. These ‘true believers’ are likely to expose kids to danger just to demonstrate their continued trust in their former archbishop. The synod has a responsibility to do what they can to prevent this from happening”.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

Sakoda concluded, “The OCA has a moral duty to continue to monitor the archbishop, and to alert and caution families who may be at risk”.

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Metropolitan Tikhon Mollard

Orthodox Church in America

PO Box 675

Syosset NY 11791

Email: metropolitan@oca.org

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Archbishop Nathaniel Popp

PO Box 309

Grass Lake MI 49240-0309

Email: nathaniel@roea.org

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Archbishop Nikon Liolin

PO Box 149

Southbridge MA 01550

Email: bpnikon@aol.com

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Archbishop Benjamin Peterson

1520 Green St

San Francisco CA 94123

Email: vikenty@msn.com

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Archbishop Alejo Pacheco-Vera

Av Rio Consulado E Iruapato #53

Col Penon De Los Banos

Mexico DF 15520

Email: obispoalejo@yahoo.com.mx

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Archbishop Melchisedek Pleska

PO Box 1769

Cranberry Township PA 16066-1769

Email: melchisedek999@yahoo.com

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Bishop Mark Maymon

144 St Tikhon’s Road

Waymart PA 18472

Email: vladyka.mark@gmail.com

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Bishop Irénée Rochon

15 LeBreton St. N.

Ottawa ON K1R 7H1

CANADA

Email: bishopirenee@archdiocese.ca

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Bishop Michael Dahulich

33 Hewitt Ave

Bronxville, NY 10708

Email: bishopmichael@nynjoca.org

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Bishop Alexander Golitzin

519 Brynhaven Dr.

Oregon OH 43616

Email: alexander@bdoca.org

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Bishop David Mahaffey

7031 Howard Ave

Anchorage AK 99504-1899

Email: otyetz@hotmail.com

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Bishop Paul Gassios

933 N. La Salle Dr.

Chicago IL 60610-3204

Email: bishoppaul@domoca.org

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Re: The Release from Prison of Archbishop Seraphim Storheim

Dear Sirs:

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 about the release of Archbishop Seraphim, and what that means for the safety of kids in the Archdiocese of Canada.

http://orthodoxcanada.ca/Archbishop_Seraphim_%28Storheim%29

First, according to your Policies, Standards, and Procedures on Sexual Misconduct, “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 parish ministry. …”

http://oca.org/PDF/official/2013-10-PSP-Sexual-Misconduct.pdf

It’s time. The archbishop has been convicted and even served his sentence. We beg you; don’t allow him to continue to hold a position of authority in the Church. Send the message that the OCA has zero tolerance for child sexual abuse!

Also, we believe that your responsibility does not end with defrocking, and we urge you to take three additional steps.

  1. First, inform the Faithful and the public of Archbishop Seraphim’s current whereabouts and any conditions of his release
  2. Second, place conditions on the archbishop’s residency in any OCA facilities: he should not to be alone with minors and he should only attend services where authorised by you
  3. Finally, reach out to the Faithful in Canada via the pulpit, the internet and by mail to inform every one of the restrictions on Archbishop Seraphim. Alert and caution them to respect these limitations to insure the safety of the Church’s children.

As you know, there are some within the Archdiocese of Canada who believe that the archbishop was wrongfully convicted, and they are likely to ignore the possible danger to their kids in order to show their continued trust in the archbishop. Please do what you can to prevent this from happening.

http://archbishopseraphim.org/

http://archbishop-of-ottawa.org/

The OCA has made great strides in addressing the issue of clergy sexual misconduct. We hope that you will continue this process.

Sincerely,

Cappy Larson

Orthodox Christian Director of SNAP (cappy@rlarson.com, 415 637-2006)

David Clohessy

Executive Director of SNAP (davidgclohessy@gmail.com, 314 566-9790)

23 July 2015

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_convicted_orthodox_archbishop_released_from_prison

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Toronto Priest Exploited Position to Sexually Assault Women

00 ioan pop. romanian orthodox priest. canada. 07.05.15

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A disgraced Romanian Orthodox priest admitted to sexually assaulting 10 women, exploiting his position to victimise them in church, during confessions, and in other places. Ioan Pop, 56, used his holy position to fondle, kiss, and make unwanted sexual advances at women from April 1999 through September 2013. The assaults occurred whilst victims sought religious services such as confessions, weddings, and funerals. Pop also tried to confine, seduce, and spark an affair with a despondent woman in 1999. The court heard that he vowed to curse her and her family for generations if she exposed him. Pop pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault charges, but he also admitted the facts on three other allegations. The judge can then weigh those facts as an aggravating factor on sentencing, which could result in a more severe sentence. Crown attorney Jackie Garrity read out the disturbing facts to Justice Peter Hryn.

The Romanian women, whose identifies are under a publication ban, ranged in age from early 20s to mid-30s. Pop kissed one woman on the mouth whilst he was performing a memorial service for her grandmother in All Saints Romanian Orthodox Church in February 2009. Pop groped the breast and kissed the knee of another married woman during a confession in November or December 2011. Garrity said that he also told her what he’d do to her sexually “if he were her husband”, and then told her she was “his angel and that he wanted to spend days with her”.

The court heard that one victim emigrated to Canada with her husband and young child. Her husband became gravely ill. The devoted wife attended his hospital bed every day and in July ’99, she reached out to Pop to bless her dying spouse. Testimony stated that the woman and Pop were going to the hospital when they stopped off at a friend’s home “to pick up some religious robes”. Once inside, Pop propositioned the woman, who vehemently rejected him. He restrained her by his forceful hugs as she threatened to scream to escape. Garrity said, “Pop said, ‘No one would know as he was a priest and he could not tell anyone’”. The terrified, crying woman finally left with Pop. He threatened to curse her and her family “for generations to come” if she revealed the incident. Garrity said that the victim took “this threat very seriously” and never reported it until after the police first charged Pop in September 2013 after another woman complained he molested and licked her in church when she sought his help in a child custody matter. The ’99 victim and 12 others came forward after the 2013 victim’s complaint became public.

In another incident, Pop, now 56, visited a 24-year-old East York woman’s apartment home to bless it in July 2006. Garrity told Hryn, “Pop suddenly stopped the ritual, and began crying and talking to the victim about women who suffer breast cancer, describing the fact that many women do not survive this illness. Ultimately, he offered to bless the woman’s breasts. She was concerned that the priest had some kind of premonition that she herself may have breast cancer”. The victim agreed to the blessing. Garrity said that he “put his hand inside her top, making the sign of the cross of her bare nipples with holy water to purportedly bless her breasts”. He then “hugged her tightly for about 30 seconds … in what the victim perceived to be a sexual manner”.

Pop, who emigrated to Canada in 1999 with his wife and two children, started a religious community in East York and then built All Saints Romanian Orthodox Church at 545 Danforth Road in Scarborough, where he served from 2004 until 2013. A court order now bars him from practising as a priest. His prominent lawyer Joseph Neuberger said, “He was a very caring priest who contributed so much to the Romanian community, from fundraising to accommodating the poor and distressed families”. Neuberger said that Pop “went beyond the boundaries of permissible behaviour after his daughter’s tragic death a few years after he came to Canada”. Pop’s sentencing will be on 23 June.

6 May 2015

Sam Pazzano

Toronto (ON) Sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2015/05/06/priest-exploited-position-to-sexually-assault-women

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

24 March 2015. Updates on Two Continuing Abuse Cases Involving Orthodox Clergy

00 Suffer the Little Children and Fordbid Them Not. 01.10.12

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The Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada, and Australia (BOD) announced on its website on Saturday 21 March 2015 that Archpriest Paisius DeLucia would be defrocked.

http://bulgariandiocese.org/

http://www.bulgariandiocese.org/files/Spiritual-Court/21Mar-Decision.pdf

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is relieved that the BOD removed the founder and former head of St Innocent Academy (SIA) in Kodiak AK from a position of authority. However, they agree with the publishers of Academy Abuse that more remains to be done.

https://academyabuse.info/

At least 18 former students accused DeLucia of physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse. The spiritual court concluded that he publicly shamed kids, used vulgar language, engaged in unbecoming behaviour while serving the sacraments, including interrupting liturgy to discipline attendees, violated confessions, and used “improper pastoral approaches toward the faithful”.

http://www.bulgariandiocese.org/files/Spiritual-Court/21Mar-Decision.pdf

David Clohessy, the Executive Director of SNAP, said, “First, it must be said that this decision would not have been possible without the bravery and persistence of all the former students who testified at the spiritual court. We congratulate them on their victory and applaud their courage”. Cappy Larson of SNAP added, “However, the diocese also needs to step up and explain what they will do in the future to prevent further abuses. As a mother, it’s very disturbing to me that St Innocent’s was billing itself as a treatment centre for troubled youth without any oversight from the Church or from the state. Kids with problems deserve a qualified and credentialed staff”. Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, wondered, “And are the BOD and Christ the Saviour Brotherhood (CSB) going to take responsibility for what happened to the students who attended the academy? Fr Paisius’ victims may need counselling and therapy as they try to heal”.

DeLucia founded SIA in 1998 under the auspices of CSB, and the group reportedly still owns the property where the school sits. The academy, along with other parishes from CSB, joined the BOD in 2000.

http://www.pokrov.org/groups/csb-christ-the-saviour-brotherhood/

Clohessy concluded, “There’s also still an open criminal investigation into the academy. Victims who haven’t yet done so should make a report to Trooper Robert Casey (907-486-4121robert.casey@alaska.gov) as soon as possible”.

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At their recent meeting in Syosset NY, the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) again delayed defrocking Canadian Archbishop Seraphim Storheim.

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-of-bishops-concludes-spring-session2

Members of an abuse survivors’ group are outraged that the synod still has not removed the archbishop from the ranks of clergy. He was the OCA’s highest-ranking clergyman in Canada, but was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old altar boy in January of 2014 and is currently in jail.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Archbishop-Storheim-found-guilty-of-sexually-assaulting-altar-boy-241849391.html

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ex-archbishop-gets-8-months-for-molesting-altar-boy-30-years-ago-1.1905622

http://www.winnipegsun.com/2015/02/05/storheims-appeal-denied-going-to-jail

The OCA’s synod instead “reviewed” the report of the Synodal Commission, as well as procedures and a date for the spiritual court. They also appointed a committee of three bishops to “develop appropriate procedures”.

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/holy-synod-of-bishops-concludes-spring-session2

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say that the denomination has publicly acknowledged that their sex abuse policy requires that clergy convicted of child sexual abuse be laicised.

http://oca.org/news/headline-news/court-upholds-conviction-of-archbishop-seraphim

http://www.snapnetwork.org/canada_defrock_archbishop

http://www.snapnetwork.org/ny_clergy_sex_abuse_victims_beg_synod_to_defrock_archbishop

Cappy Larson of SNAP said, “This ‘spiritual court’ seems to me to be little more than a time-wasting formality. Both Archbishop Seraphim’s guilt and church policy are crystal clear”. Melanie Jula Sakoda, also of SNAP, added, “At least Archbishop Seraphim can’t use his religious title to hurt children from behind bars, but what happens when he completes his sentence?” Larson concluded, “The OCA can’t afford to have the archbishop’s die-hard supporters expose kids to danger to prove to him that they trust him completely”. 

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Editor:

The fact that the OCA refuses to give Storheim the drop even though he’s in the slam for nasty doings speaks volumes. I have to walk away from this one. One MP priest asked me, “Which one of the OCA bishops isn’t gay?” This gives that question tread… and I wish that it didn’t. However, facts are facts… the OCA has to shitcan Storheim and apologise to his victims for the over-the-top attacks on them by Storheim’s shyster in court. That’s what I believe, any road. I stand by it.

BMD

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