Wednesday, December 1. 2010
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Seems like the OCA has moved quickly to examine the evidence and to excise this person from the clergy. The healing of the OCA continues.
(Editor's note: You are totally wrong in two respects. The suspension of the Archbishop is not to "excise him from the clergy", but a policy born out of an abudance of caution that is to be done regardless of rank. It does not "Excise" him from the clergy - merely suspends him pending the outcome of his trial. Secondly, it was not done quickly. The OCA was notified this summer there was an investigation; and the Archbishsop was notified on November 16th he would be charged and arrested. He was suspended some months after learning of an investigation, and two week after learning he would be arrested. That may be "sufficient" but it is hardly "quickly" by 21st century terms. Finally, one can hope that adhearance to policies will help healing. That is not a given, but it may be a start.)
#1 Stu on 2010-12-01 22:51
Mark said, "He was suspended some months after learning of an investigation, and two weeks after learning he would be arrested."
Mark, be serious, "some months" and "two weeks" is all-ahead-warp-factor-ten speed when it comes to Orthodox Christianity!
(Editor's note: Sadly true. Some apparently haven't got the memo that the Empire fell in 1453....)
#1.1 Stu on 2010-12-03 11:53
This entire thing just gets sadder and sadder every day.
Lord have mercy!
#2 STEPHEN on 2010-12-02 02:58
I can not thank you enough for keeping this forum alive. I am pleased that the Holy Synod finally acted but I also believe that the issue of why this wasn't investigated two years ago needs to be answered.
I know that this issue was never investigated and the excuses that were given were lame. In the euphoria of a new metropolitan, this issue was brushed aside and certain individuals simply hoped that no one would ever come forward and say anything further.
It now appears that the wheels are turning. I just hope and pray that they turn long enough to go back two years ago and rectify the errors in process and accountability.
#3 Anonymous on 2010-12-02 07:00
The entire case comes down to, "he said & they said." It will be interesting to see what REAL evidence there is. What will be even better is, "What motivations made accusers come forward 25 years later!" This is curious and everyone must ask, "Who are the accusers and why now?"
(Editor's note: Witnesses are "REAL" evidence; it will be up to a jury, it appears, to make a judgement concerning their veracity, which will, no doubt, include answers to your questions. This is assuming, however, it comes to trial. It may, or may not.)
#4 Anonymous on 2010-12-02 07:05
Mark's point about whether or not it comes to trial bears thinking about.
Does it serve the church to have the case 'go away' in an ambiguous fashion including agreements to silence and with the possibility of money changing hands after public charges are brought?
In the bad old days, some group of church figures would cause those victims at the center of a public case to withdraw from the case entirely and stay silent in exchange for a whole bunch of money.
Then the church leadership would in forums beneath the level of 'official press release' suggest that those who complained brought baseless charges of opportunity and the dropping of the matter by the civil authority was a sign of vindication, innocence and the church leader was being victimized by false accusations by grifters wanting cash. Which if the accused was innocent is quite correct, but if not the perversion is the more grotesque as our project aims to be rightly deserving of moral authority and due moral leadership.
Owing to the pre-trial dropping of it all, nobody appeared in court under oath and cautioned that lies and deception would result in fines and jail to tell the story in public and on the record. The only voice not silenced later on by money was the church leadership's voice-- the truth was buried and the possibily innocent, possibly guilty misdoer was put back in position of church authority.
However now, with the internet and the search engine and the information available at the touch of a keyboard anywhere in the world at any time of the day or the night every day of every month of every year for the foreseeable future--
-- we as the church might really consider whether it would be best for these cases to go to trial and not offer to pay to make them go away even if we are convinced of the innocence of the accused since the public record of the trial seems to be the only impartial and not church leadership self-serving venue to bring closure. Force the accusers if lying to face the risk of jail for lying under oath or withdrawing.
The accusers and accused alike risk fines and jail for lying under oath, the attorneys ask the hard questions. All in the context of the civil authority which stands to gain or to lose nothing no matter the verdict.
In that way what is on the internet and a matter of public record has a credible conclusion to the doubters on all sides.
We really as church need to think hard, it might be in our long term interest in the modern context to have these cases, once public, to be laundered and closed in public as well.
#4.1 Harry Coin on 2010-12-02 08:59
I understand your comments to be supportive to +S and dismissive, even hostile to "the accusers", whoever they may be. Certainly you do not seem open to the idea that they might be "the victims."
But "He said, THEY said" is actually the point here.
It is not just one person involved so their joint statements must be taken even more seriously than if it was a lone accuser/victim.
And, what are we to make of +S's response where he initially did not say anything at all about his guilt or innocence to the Canadian faithful but led them to believe that he was ill and was taking some time off on the advice of his physician. Is this not a disgrace to the Church?
Although serious questions remain about the possibility of past administrative coverups, the OCA has now made it clear to all that there is a serious investigation and +S has been suspended until vindication.
What I believe still needs to be done is for all the Canadian OCA parishes to search high and low for other possible victims and to welcome/urge them to step forward now. I think a statement to this effect should be circulated to all their present and past parishioners. I know that this has been Roman Catholic practise in the past in similar circumstances in Canada - why are the Orthodox not seen to be doing at least as much.
#4.2 Canadian Orthodox Believer on 2010-12-02 13:00
What do you think we're supposed to make of the "doctor's note"? He lied. Goodness. At best, it was a partial statement. Perhaps a doctor somewhere did tell him he had stress related health issues. Yet, that would still make it a lie of omission. Bishops lie sometimes and this time, it was Archbishop Seraphim. Now, what one is to make of that is the real concern, I think.
#4.2.1 A Midwest Observer on 2010-12-02 19:08
Interesting???? None of this is INTERESTING nor will anything be INTERESTING to see. This is not some type of soap opera entertainment to be served up with one's afternoon tea.
What is REAL here are the lives of the three people who know the answer to the only question that REALLY matters: "Are the allegations true, or are they false?"
#4.3 Sophia Weisheit on 2010-12-02 14:23
"Anonymous" needs to do some reading on childhood sexual abuse. Only 10% of victims ever come forward. Of those who do, many make their outcry in their 30s or 40s. At that point they realize the impact the abuse has had on their lives, and they want to protect others from the pain that they have endured.
Child abusers are NOT "one timers." There is a pattern and their abuse is on-going until they are stopped. + Seraphim has had NO history of such activities - just this ONE alleged episode in 1985. One must ask, "Gee, one episode? Is this the norm?" And again, Why now after 25+ years? Who are these accusers? Let's hear their whole story in public!!!
(Editor's Note: That is what a trial, should it come to that, will do. Until then, speculation is pointless.)
#4.4.1 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 07:04
One time that is known/alleged. It frequently takes victims decades to come forward - but then I have the feeling you already know that.
#188.8.131.52 Heracleides on 2010-12-03 09:06
You are mistaken. There are presently TWO allegations of child sexual molestation under investigation (not ONE as you have asserted). If you are going to attempt to rationalize excuses for the archbishop, at least strive for accuracy if nothing else.
#184.108.40.206 CPS Social Worker on 2010-12-03 09:18
I believe this may be a case of 'you are both right'. I had understood there were two individuals making allegations regarding events on one occasion. This would make for the 'two counts of sexual assault', which is how the Police media release words it, but one 'episode' as the anonymous poster above commented. Another of many details to be clarified by the courts.
"You are mistaken. There are presently TWO allegations of child sexual molestation under investigation (not ONE as you have asserted). "
There are two allegations, stemming from ONE alleged incident. The news reports have made it quite clear that the alleged abuse to both boys happened at the same time. I believe this is what Heracliedes meant to state.
#220.127.116.11.2 Grr on 2010-12-04 11:09
1.) I'm glad that you're acknowledging that the charges might not go to trial. That's a crucial fact. It's not impossible for the Winnipeg RCMP to drop charges because of lack of evidence.
2.) Related to that, Archbishop Seraphim might have to face a pre-trial hearing, in which a judge has to decide whether there is enough evidence for an actual criminal trial. And the burden of proof is on the Crown to show that there is enough evidence.
3.) According to rumour (and this is not a harmful one), the Winnipeg RCMP can only conduct interviews of suspects by arresting them. But, again, a rumour, so don't place too much stock in it.
4.) Again, not a scandal. Seraphim's suspension is procedural. It's not up the Synod to determine his guilt - it's up to representatives of Her Majesty the Queen to do that. (He has the right to be tried by judge alone, but even a jury acts on the judge's instructions.) If the charges are dropped, or if he is found not guilty, I, for one, see no reason for him to not be re-instated.
#4.5 Gavin Campbell on 2010-12-02 18:11
I've read a number of times on ocanews that Canadian authorities don't have the right to examine suspects formally unless they arrest them. Can that possibly be true?
Editor's note: No.)
#4.5.1 Morton on 2010-12-09 07:13
"He said vs. They said?" Perhaps if you knew more about the lives of the alleged victims in this case you would find that there is a horrible tragedy that occurred (whether or not it was perpetrated by Archbishop Seraphim). Because I was given information second hand I will not report it here, but believe me it is tragic.
What breaks my heart is the attempt (intentionally or unintentionaly) to depersonalize this. It is incredibly personal and if you knew the stories of the alleged victims in this case you might think twice about whether or not the church should have acted sooner, regardless of whether or not Archbishop Seraphim is ever convicted.
As a Church, it seems to me that we have a responsibility to go significantly above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that all people are safe and secure in our parishes....
Child abuse of any kind is always personal. There are countless examples of lives that have been totally destroyed because of abuse, and this is why the Chuch bears an enormous responsibility to make sure that it does not occur; and if it is does, that it is investigated immediately.
#4.6 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 07:29
Thanks for helping Stu understand basic church nomenclature and the difference between suspension and being removed from the ranks of thie clergy. However I would be careful not to hold too high the standards of response speed of the 21st century. The response time of the Holy Synod was proper. His Beatitude gathered the bishops as soon as he could (Benjamin) being out of the country and when they were all available to meet. The new sexual misconduct guidelines are being followed.
#5 Anonymous on 2010-12-02 07:26
I don't think that length of time in speaking up about past abuse really means lack of truth. I think anyone who has been abused can attest to this.
Perhaps a little late (and we need to know why), but something was done and that is GOOD. Definitely a far cry better than the past Orthodox Church inertia.
#6 The Lorax on 2010-12-02 08:19
I believe there is some confusion over what are the Winnipeg Police vs the R.C.M.P.
Broadly speaking , with the exception of Ontario & Quebec , the R.C.M.P. are , Provincial/Territory small cities/large towns(pop. 10,000+)police force.
Ontario & Quebec have their own distinct provincial police.
Winnipeg has it's own Police , separate and apart from the R.C.M.P.
There is collaboration between City/R.C.M.P. on a case by case basis , whether the R.C.M.P. are working on the Seraphim case is unknown.
Also the R.C.M.P. have the most technical "C.S.I." lab in the country so small/ large "City Police" depts will send evidence for forensic testing.
Again , broadly speaking , the accused has a right to trial , by judge , or by a judge and a jury.
Judge not lest ye be judged
worst of sinners
#7 sinner on 2010-12-02 11:01
This is such a sad situation and no matter how it turns out, it will remain a tragedy. I met +Seraphim only once and he seemed to me to be a humble and spiritual man. I don't have a clue as to what really happened, but it is up to the courts to decide. What I would hope and pray is that we keep in mind that an accusation is not always the truth and it is NOT a conviction (remember the Roman Catholic Cardinal in Chicago who was accused for years and then the accuser finally recanted and said the molestation never occurred?). Please, let's wait for the courts to decide.
And again, as is so often the case, thank you Mark for clarifying the "excise from the clergy" statement ... wow, was that one ever off the mark! Thank you also to the OCA who acted carefully, thoughtfully and I am sure prayerfully, and it wasn't afraid to take the appropriate steps.
#8 Sean O'Clare on 2010-12-02 11:13
I met 'metropolitan' Pangratios one time and he seemed to be a humble and spiritual man also. Ditto for 'bishop' Benedict of the Blanco 'monastery'.
However I doubt that Satan comes in dark array with a forked tail, horns, pitchfork, and a terrifying countenance. He would never snare anyone with that approach.
External appearances can easily cloak horrible realities.
#8.1 Ex OCA member on 2010-12-06 05:28
In Canada, just this past fall, we had a much publicized case of a Canadian Air Force Colonel who was found guilty of murder (amongst other horrible offenses). He was much decorated and much respected. By all outwardly appearances an upstanding citizen.
When the story broke of his arrest and details of his case, evidence and such emerged, his best friend of 25 years heard of his arrest on the evening news. He was absolutely shocked. He got physically ill. He couldn't believe that his best friend, the emcee of his wedding, his former college roommate, the person he just had dinner with last week, could be charged with such horrific offenses.
He was found guilty of 88 charges, including 2 murders. To this date, his best friend has trouble believing that the person he knew was capable of such atrocities. He still has trouble reconciling that his best friend for 25 years is the monster who was convicted of these crimes. The evidence was insurmountable. He pleaded guilty. A recent documentary on this case is called "Above Suspicion".
Now, I mention this example as a good example for us all. We may think we know someone. But do we really?
Here I have to agree that external appearances do sometimes cloak horrible realities. Let us all pray that, in regards to Archbishop Seraphim, this is not the case.
#8.1.1 A Principled Canadian on 2010-12-06 23:43
The time-lapse issue is an interesting one.
One the hand, you have cases where people remember an incident but refuse to talk about it for decades. This is common with combat veterans. They don't all-of-a-sudden remember that they fought in war some 20 or 30 years previously. The memory is there, it's just too painful to recount.
On the other hand, there are so-called recovered memories. Unless one has had amnesia or been in a coma, it's kind of suspicious. Therapy sessions and hypnosis are notorious for convincing people that they remember things that simply didn't happen (think Satanic ritual abuse, or UFO abductions). Unfortunately, this includes claims to remember sexual abuse.
In the case of Archbishop Seraphim and his accusers, we simply don't know. Speculation is perhaps a bad idea. I only mention this because some people are bringing up the time-lapse issue.
#9 Gavin Campbell on 2010-12-02 18:41
Melanie wrote: "Anonymous" needs to do some reading on childhood sexual abuse. Only 10% of victims ever come forward. Of those who do, many make their outcry in their 30s or 40s. At that point they realize the impact the abuse has had on their lives, and they want to protect others from the pain that they have endured.
Absolutely correct. If you have ever spoken with or counseled somebody who has gone through this horrible, life-changing experience you would realize the shame that is associated with abuse. It takes tremendous courage for anyone to come forward at any age. The question I would like you to ask yourself is: What if the victim(s) that came forward were your son or grandson? Would that change your perspective? They are somebody's son(s) and grandson(s).
#10 Frustrated (but hopeful) Antiochian on 2010-12-02 22:54
I wonder what percentage of those who never come forward do so because they have come to the point of maturity (with help) in understanding that what happened to them was not their fault, that whatever shame they may have had was understandable for a time but finally futile in that to live with that incident(s) fully determining their entire life is not necessary.
I am not in ANY way diminishing what a horrible and deformed act that child abuse is, it is a hateful thing, but to be deformed by it for a lifetime is in someway the ultimate victimization of the abused by the abuser.
If we believe in a loving and healing God then there is hope to move beyond the hate, rage, anger and shame, and be born again!
May God give courage and grace to all those abused and to those who minister to them so that they may live full lives.
#10.1 Anonymous on 2010-12-03 14:44
I'm skeptical of the assertion that only 10% of child sex abuse victims come forward. That's because the assertion logically implies another 90% of victims who don't. In order assert that such persons exists, you need evidence. As it is, the claim that the 90% of silent child abuse victims even exist can't be either verified or disproven.
As the joke goes, 40% of all social science statistics are made up on the spot.
I would also like to add that I'm a fan of Sherlock Holmes and CSI. Testimony is legal evidence, but; there's nothing like solid, physical, forensic evidence.
(Editor's note: Sometimes one has to make do with what exists, not what one would like. It is hard to imagine forensic evidence exists after 25 years. Witness statements may be all that exists. And in many cases, it suffices.)
#10.2 Gavin Campbell on 2010-12-06 11:12
Do the two men who claim that Archbishop Seraphim abused them have any relation to one another?
#11 Andrew on 2010-12-04 11:41
Shanghai, China 2010.12.05
I am flabbergasted by your comment. It is truly the mother of all non sequiters and just another what I believe is a diversionary tactic by some of the Seraphim whitewashers that have come to inhabit this Board.
This is very simple, as I keep saying, in the end, for all of its sordidness. Either the Archbishop is a child predator or the Archbishop is not a child predator.
The on-going scandal has totally sullied beyond repair the name of the Canadian Archdiocese of the OCA. It has cast opprobrium on the names of the Metropolitan and on the names of anyone who has been been remotely associated with this "event" and continues to sully and cast opprobrium.
The Archbishop has behaved rather cowardly after, allegedly, behaving rather predatorily. The Archbishop should resign, ipso facto, and let the scandal and the opprobrium pass.
The scandal, the sordidness, the opprobrium, in the end, belong to the Archbishop (and frankly to all of his whitewashers), and not to the Archdiocese and the Archbishop should assume the scandal, the sordidness and the opprobrium, as his and as his alone.
I laughed out loud at your response, Xiao. I am certainly far from being a supporter of Archbishop Seraphim. However, I am still interested in receiving an answer to what I feel is a valid question.
#11.1.1 Andrew on 2010-12-06 10:43
The two alleged victims are brothers.
#18.104.22.168 Anonymous on 2010-12-06 20:43
Xiao LIN is right to complain about +Seraphim’s “whitewashers” in the Canadian Archdiocese.
Where were these folks two years when +S was documented in the SIC report as having turned his back to evidence of the OCA’s administrative/financial scandal but at the same time to be very hot under his collar because seating at the high table was not found for his friends and his ring was not dutifully kissed by the lowly?
And, what do these folks make of +S’s recent duplicitous suggestion that he was talking a leave-of-absence for medical reasons?
Without presuming to judge whether the police charges will prove sound, I would think that based on the public record of the last two years it is +S’s credibility that would give pause to members of the Canadian Archdiocese, not the credibility of TWO completely unknown individuals.
And yet, many messages on this board try to undermine the credibility of these complainants. ‘Are they related?’; ‘only a he said, they said’; ‘only one alleged incident’; ‘what are their motives?’; ‘why now?’ There is also lots of misdirection about police procedure and spiritual courts with an Igumen challenging a, to him, disagreeable opinion about +S with a command to ‘put up or shut up’!
Sad, very sad.
Xiao LIN says that “the on-going scandal has totally sullied beyond repair the name of the Canadian Archdiocese of the OCA.” Sullied, I agree. Beyond repair, I pray that this is hyperbole. Those who care about the Archdiocese need, however, to do far more to be seen publically to search for any additional complainants – if there are none to be found, all good; if there are, healing of them and the Archdiocese can from that point begin.
#11.1.2 Canadian Orthodox Believer on 2010-12-06 11:53
A much simpler answer to Andrew would have been, yes. They are related. They are brothers.
I think it was a simple question he asked and not "the mother of all non sequiters and just another what I believe is a diversionary tactic by some of the Seraphim whitewashers that have come to inhabit this Board."
This is what we know, His Eminence has been charged with two counts of child abuse (or whatever the exact charge is in Canada.) He was arrested, released and is now privy to exactly what is the evidence against him. We don't know, only those involved on either side of the legal system know. But we do know that the Archbishop is steadfastly denying the charges against him.
All your "ipso facto" statements are speculation on your part. So why not take a deep breath and calm down and let the courts and the justice system do what it is charged to do now.
In time, we will all know more. In the meantime, let's pray for all involved.
#11.1.3 Anonymous on 2010-12-06 13:07
Whom IMHO has become the quasi-mouthpiece for the pro-Seraphim faction on this Board, and whose fractiousness I will choose to avoid, I will say, however:
1. Render unto God what is God's. Yes, indeed, I will pray for the Archbishop and his as we say in Russian "obshaya pokayania duzhevnaya i telecnayia" and far more importantly, I will pray for the victims, in all of their sufferings, and for all such victims as have yet to come forth and who are sufferings in their souls; and
2. Render unto Ceaser What Is Ceasar's, in this case, the hopes for a speedy, just and fact-finding trial before the courts of Her Most Britannic...
Related or unrelated, the question is not germane, in the least. In any case, had the two boys not been related, they would now have been related by the very commonness of the predatory act.
It seems like useful discussion turns to pontificating after a few days. So when does the bartender give the last call?
(Editor's note: Think you just did.)
#12 james on 2010-12-08 15:43
I do not think having a link on an OCA parish page to a web site in support of Archbishop Seraphim is a good move. Why can't people just leave it in the hands of the justice system.
Link from Vancouver OCA parish web page:
(Editor's note: The OCA has disavvowed the link, and it has been removed according to reports.)
#12.1 Marie on 2010-12-30 00:08
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