Saturday, November 6. 2010
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Metropolitan Jonah is still not being forthright about what the Canadian police and the OCA is supposed to be investigating. I just don't understand why he is being so coy, and I find it to be just another indication that nothing has really changed in the OCA.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
While I appreciated the attempt at being open about news, I really didn't get what Met. Jonah was trying to say in his message. It didn't say anything that wasn't already out in public. It would have been nice if he had commented on why it took so incredibly long to actually investigate the matter.
#2 Anonymous on 2010-11-06 20:52
Concerning what you call "coy" and what others might call "tactful," it is reported by extremely reliable sources close to the civil investigation that the Winnipeg police were furious when the news of this allegation was posted on the OCA website; the police viewed that publicity as something which would impede their investigation. Hence, one supposes that in order to render to the civil authorities their promised cooperation, the Metropolitan and others in the administration are being careful about what, if anything, they say. I realise that must be frustrating to those who would prefer to skip due process (along with the presumption of innocence) and proceed immediately to the hanging. But in this country we still try to be careful, honest and fair in our administration of justice.
(Editor's note: In this country as well, Father, sharing the same tradition of anglo-saxon jurisiprudence. However, I am not aware of anybody trying to hang the Archbishop, or anyone who has tried him, let alone found hiim guity - at least on this site. People have expressed frustration that it seems to have taken 25 years for this to come forward; and another 2 years to be brought to the light; but where, here, has anybody said anybody was guilty- except of course those who have claimed it is was all a "plot" by +Seraphim's enemies? The Metropolitan was being coy, and as you point out, has reason to be so. Rather than disparage everyone's motives and purposes, why not just accept the Metropolitan's statement as an expression of public concern, and wait for the chips to fall where they may?
#3 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2010-11-07 04:40
Mark, the most widely-used definition of 'coy' is in fact one that "disparages the motives" of the one so described, which is why Fr. Philip suggests "tactful" may be a better word choice. I would even think 'discreet' may be more accurate to describe Met. Jonah's letter.
So I think your exhortation not to disparage anyone's motives, though it was addressed directly to Fr. Philip in reply to his comment, should in fact have first been directed to Melanie. Of course, this exhortation really should apply to all of us affected by this matter.
As you note, no-one has directly said anyone is guilty, on this site (though certainly you can find guilty labels elsewhere online and off) but there are plenty of implications due to careless use of language.
And while we are being careful of language as well as not disparaging anyone's motives, as for the family, I personally think their remarks were ill considered-- but please think how anyone would feel to have a beloved family member suddenly villified in all the media with such a horrible accusation. When the police were not the ones to release word to the media of what is still only an investigation into allegations about decades-old events, it is hard not to suspect that there may be more going on here than meets the eye.
Mark, as you are someone who has seen the ins and outs of church politics, it shouldn't seem a complete impossibility to you that there may in fact be some kind of personal or political grudges at work here somewhere. Whatever the distraught family specifically meant by their remarks made in the emotion of the moment, and whether they were even directed at anyone in particular-- unless we have indeed already decided Archbishop Seraphim is guilty, we must allow that a false accusation, for whatever motives, is one other possible explanation. Yes, it has been pointed out here that false accusations are relatively rare-- but they do happen. Sadly, even when those falsely accused are not proven guilty of such allegations, it becomes nearly impossible to lose the mud that is slung by various bystanders during the process.
I do not say that the alleged victims in this case are actually Archbishop Seraphim's 'enemies'; but nor do I say they are his 'victims'. At this point in the investigation, it is as wrong to call them his 'victims' as it is to judge him guilty of the accusations. They should be referred to as alleged victims only, unless and until a court of law makes a guilty finding.
My hope is that the reiteration of these points may help readers to conduct their discussion, both here and elsewhere online and offline, in a fair and fitting manner.
#4 Donna Farley on 2010-11-07 10:04
Igumen Philip wrote:
"Concerning what you call ‘coy’ and what others might call ‘tactful,’ it is reported by extremely reliable sources close to the civil investigation that the Winnipeg police were furious when the news of this allegation was posted on the OCA website; the police viewed that publicity as something which would impede their investigation. Hence, one supposes that in order to render to the civil authorities their promised cooperation, the Metropolitan and others in the administration are being careful about what, if anything, they say."
Yes, the OCA issued the first press release mentioning the police investigation. However, if the civil authorities were angry about that and the OCA was worried about the opinion of the civil authorities, then why issue another statement at all?
Having rejected the option of silence, my question was why would the OCA then be coy in the release? The Winnipeg police gave a press conference of its own addressing the allegations, and the allegations were also published in the Canadian press.
Igumen Philip continued:
"I realise that must be frustrating to those who would prefer to skip due process (along with the presumption of innocence) and proceed immediately to the hanging. But in this country we still try to be careful, honest and fair in our administration of justice."
As an attorney and a member of the bar, I have great respect for due process and the presumption of innocence. However, both were intended to protect citizens from the government, not to impede discussion of the issues. Stating clearly what the OCA and the Canadian authorities are investigating does not speak to the veracity of those allegations. Moreover, while the OCA may have jumped the gun in speaking out before the police were ready to do so, in general information about the allegations facing an individual has the effect of spurring witnesses to come forward, which usually leads to an outcome which more closely approximates the truth should those allegations result in actual charges.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
(editor's note: The OCA did not "jump the gun" here. Having learned -officially - that the police were investigating the Archbishop for sexual misconduct, the Church, by its own policies, requires he be placed on a leave of absence. In this case, the Archbishop requested it himself. The Archbishop then, disigenously in my opinion, suggested, without stating it explicitly, that the reasons were health-related. Unfortunately for him, scores of people knew the truth - and so, the Church could tell the truth, or attempt to cover for +Seraphim. They choose to tell the truth - which irritated the police, perhaps, but demonstrated to the Church that the Administration would no longer cover-up unfortunate information. And eliminated weeks if not months of speculation. That the Metropolitan issued a second statement was a pastoral decision to set a context for discusssion of these issues - which are indeed being discussed privately and publicly throughout Canada and the USA. Once again, whether one likes the discussion or not, it is best the Church try to model how Christians deal with difficult issues, rather than simply ignore them, or worse, hide them. We have all seen where that leads.)
I was being disparaging, but Melanie wasn't??? One suspects the Metropolitan might feel otherwise.
#6 Igumen Philip (Speranza) on 2010-11-08 04:44
I am not in the OCA however, I actually thought "Hooray!" when I read both of the statements of the OCA. They actually corrected Archbishop Seraphim's spin on his leave of absence and issued a later update indicating what the OCA was doing. I know that this may not fully satisfy SNAP or Pokrov but in view of where all the Orthodox Jurisdictions have been in the past, it shows giant steps by comparison. Is there still areas for progress? Yes, but let us acknowledge the progress and tweak the programs to make them work for justice of both parties and the security and safety from sexual predators of the Members of the Orthodox Church and Society in General.
#7 Gunter on 2010-11-08 07:46
In all of this, THUS FAR, the FACT remains that these allegations were not brought forward by alleged victims but by third parties, Ms Sakoda and an OCA priest. The Canadian authorities are duty bound to investigate and the OCA set its own process in motion to investigate. Why the Chancellor and the Secretary of the OCA felt they needed to respond in any fashion is beyond the bounds of belief. Their comments did more to cause more speculation and impede the Canadian investigation then the statements by His Beatitude.They should be called on the carpet for their stupid remarks.
We are all in favor of protecting children and we live in an age when in defence of that we error on the side of the alleged victims over the accused. If the alleged victims do not cooperate with the Canadian investigation (and they have not and appear will not,) it seems reasonable to assume that this matter will do only one thing, cause Archbishop Seraphim to retire and his many years of faithful service to the Church in Canada to defined by a big asterisk!
It is the avowed position of Pokrov that child abusers do so in a pattern of abuse. Thus, if Archbishop Seraphim is guilty, we should see more victims come forward. I have no knowledge that this is happening, but if it does not, what conclusions could be drawn from that? It is a good thing that victims feel empowered to step forward now as opposed to earlier times when they could be more easily intimidated. Let us see if the "invite" by Pokrov will yield any response.
It is good that Melanie is a lawyer. She may find herself in court over this episode. In the end, we all want the truth.
(Editor's note: Wrong. First, the alleged victims came forward to the police; the police contacted the OCA; the OCA responded. Secondly, like the coward you have always been, you misinform and threaten. Be gone - you have no power here anymore. And where ever you go, take a moment and repent.)
#8 Anonymous on 2010-11-08 08:45
Just a slight correction or nuance to Donna's comment. It is not only if a court of law finds a guilty verdict do we acknowledge that there are victims. The court may decide that there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal or legal verdict, which does not say that the allegations are false. In such an event, the church's own investigation will also have an important say in the matter. The Church can decide that though there is no sufficient evidence for a criminal conviction, that there is in fact sufficient evidence for the church to act on and rule on the allegations. The Church's authority to rule on such cases is not pre-empted by a civil court. In Byzantium St. Basil reminded the courts in a case involving theft from the church that the civil criminal investigation does not supersede what the Church decides about guilt in the Church's internal affairs.
#9 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2010-11-08 09:15
Oct. 29, 2010
To the very Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Archdiocese of Canada
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
On October 6th, I had sent a letter to all of you, about His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim’s leave of absence.
I realize the pain that you feel, because we all would like this to be behind us, but for now I can only say that we know very little more than three weeks ago. What we can do, on the other hand is to continue to be sober in our comments. With allegations of such a serious nature, it is vital that they be resolved thoroughly and without bias. Our duty is to offer prayer and compassion for all involved, including the accusers, the families, the Church members and Archbishop Seraphim, and for the police and Church members involved in the investigation.
A Synodal Commission has been created to conduct a Church internal investigation into the allegations levied against Archbishop Seraphim. The names of the members of the commission have been announced on the OCA website and were put forward in consultation with the Archdiocese and blessed by the Holy Synod.
We should continue to offer prayers in all our temples for God’s will to be done. We must be patient as the investigations must run their course. Voicing of any judgments, conclusions or opinions at this time is inappropriate.
Many have asked to convey greetings to His Eminence. You may write yourself to the Archbishop your words of encouragement at P.O.Box 179, Spencerville, ON , K0E 1X0
Many of us feel sorrow, pain and even anger, but we do have a choice on how to deal with this. We can let these emotions grow and take over our lives, or we can turn to our Heavenly Father with humility and repentance, and put all these feelings in His hands. In a short while, we will enter the forty day pre-Nativity Fast. What a good occasion for all of us to join to our Christmas Fast, prayers for a just conclusion to this.
I would like to ask your holy prayers for myself and for the executive staff of the Archdiocese, that we may continue to administer the Archdiocese during this difficult period.
In Christ’s Love,
Bishop of Québec
#10 james on 2010-11-08 10:07
Ms Sadoka, as you call her is one of the true free voices in the Church that does not engage in bullcookies. The information on Pokrov is verifiable, printable and accurate. If "Ms. Sakoda" ends up in court, it is I hope because she is bringing action against some abuser.
Bravo Pokrov, keep up the good and righteous work you do!
#11 no name on 2010-11-08 10:59
Thank you, Fr. Ted, for this additional point. I feel we should continue to be careful to refer to the complainants as "alleged victims" in the Church investigation as well until there is a finding of guilt or innocence in that investigation as well.
#12 Donna Farley on 2010-11-08 12:26
And who do you think you are now? What threat? Sorry, there is no evidence that the alleged victims came forward. Would you like to produce it. If so, and if they did, I will stand corrected, but sorry, we have no intention of going away.
(Editor's note: Short of revealing the names of the alleged victims, there is no way to reveal that to your satisfaction. The police would not have begun a full investigation without them coming forward. Period. )
#13 Anonymous on 2010-11-08 13:32
First, the alleged victims came forward to the police; the police contacted the OCA; the OCA responded.
Can you clarify this? There seems to be some question regarding when the OCA knew what, and how it responded.
Are you saying that the victims only came forward to the police, recently, and not directly to the OCA? That once the police notified the OCA, then the OCA began the process outlined in its published guidelines regarding sexual misconduct allegations?
I ask because it has been assumed and/or stated by some that the alleged victims (or parties working with and representing them) made allegations to the OCA (or a clergyman of the OCA), but that these allegations were ignored until the police began an investigation.
On a related but distinct note, do the Sexual Misconduct Guidelines require or even allow the OCA to act on rumors or hearsay, i.e., "my friend X said that Fr. A and he did..." Or, does the victim him/herself - or a representative, which could include an organization like Pokrov if acting on explicit instructions from the victim - have to come forward, personally? Would the OCA be able to even discipline a clergyman for rumors (rather than on personal testimony by the victim)? Would the Guidelines allow the OCA to pass information to the police based on rumors alone? Would the OCA be held liable for passing on rumors to the police or disciplining on rumors? Would the OCA even be able to suspend or 'retire' a bishop based only on rumors? What if they ask him to resign, but he won't? Could that request by the Synod even be made public without fear of a potential civil lawsuit?
(Editor's note: These are excellent questions, and best answered by those responsible, i.e. the administration and the sexual misconduct committee members who are currently developing the policies. I certainly hope they will address these concerns.)
#14 melxiopp on 2010-11-08 13:39
First I want to thank Mark, Melanie, Fr. Phillip, Fr. Ted and various others who are doing the best they can, according to their own understanding, to make this discussion thread one that will cast more light than heat.
Melanie states: "The Winnipeg police gave a press conference of its own addressing the allegations, and the allegations were also published in the Canadian press."
I believe this statement appears misleading regarding the order of events. I first spotted the OCA announcement via RSS feed, and did an immediate search for the topic, turning up a few early reports. Without exception these reports had not yet been able to reach the police for comment, but quoted Pokrov and SNAP calling for people to contact the police. It was apparent the Canadian media had their first information from Pokrov, not from the police. These reports soon multiplied across the internet. Fr. Philip perhaps has better information than I, but I had understood that it was this call by Pokrov that the police were unhappy about, rather than, or perhaps in addition to, the OCA.org announcement.
It was only later that some of the mainstream Canadian media such as the Edmonton Journal and Global News ran stories that quoted the police, as well as Archbishop Seraphim's family and even the Anglican Church in Edmonton where then-Father Kenneth Storheim once served before his conversion to Orthodoxy. I didn't see any mention of an actual press conference given by the police, only a few careful comments reported in some of the media; however as I do not live in Winnipeg, I may have missed it if it appeared on TV there.
As for the Anonymous poster Mark corrected, I do not know who he or she is or why they are still convinced of their views about the complainants coming forward. For the benefit of other readers who may still be wondering about this-- I asked Melanie to clarify this in the comments to the Oct. 8 story here on OCANews "New Details Emerge." Melanie did so, stating that she herself is the one who told the police about the allegations, and the police then told her that because the allegations were about historical events and not current ones, the alleged victims themselves would in fact have to come forward.
As there is now a police investigation, ergo we must conclude that these alleged victims subsequently did come forward. It does appear that at the time of the complaints to the OCA a few years ago, these individuals did not themselves come forward and speak directly to anyone with authority in the OCA, nor did they come forward to the police on their own until after Pokrov had contacted the police.
Corrections and clarifications to this understanding of events are welcome.
To Igumen Philip and some of the others,
Firstly, it is totally irrelevant whether or not the Winnipeg Police are irritated or not. This matter is not about the feelings, nor the irritations, of the Winnipeg Police. That is a perfect diversion from the serious charges-at-hand.
Secondly, it is absolutely unfathomable, as one poster above has suggested, that there is some kind of a "secret agenda" and hate campaign involving Archbishop Seraphim.
Thirdly, at the end of the day, the issue is remarkably simple, for all of its complexities : either the Archbishop did molest these two young boys or he did not molest these two young boys. There is no middle ground here at all.
Fourthly, Metropolitan Jonah is decidedly "lawyering" as you say in English. His missive said precisely nothing of any substance nor of any comfort to anyone and was simply more of the now-famous and very-historical verbiage for which Syosset has become intrinsicly famous.
Either this matter is true and factual or it is fabricated and delusional. Simple as that. At that point, it is either total rehabilitation or absolute defrocking.
In regards to Jonah's recently released statement- I have a strong suspicion that it is all about to come out now. Met. Jonah is preparing the faithful.
How ridiculous all of this sounds. Talk of the police investigation, who knew what and when, etc..If you think about it- Why are we are all waiting for the results of the investigation anyway? I mean, Archbishop Seraphim is the leader of our church. HE knows the truth. It involves him so why doesn't he just tell us..."Yes I did this" or "No I did not". Instead he chooses to remain silent.
Has anyone simply asked him...Did you do this? I would hope, for his families' sake, that they asked him this direct question. Otherwise he will make them (and others) all look like fools if these allegations are proven to be true. Their inappropriate statements and posting here, on the Canadian Archdiocese website and in the media have caused me to cringe. If they truly know their Archbishop Seraphim to be innocent then simply say...We welcome the investigation to prove his innocence. No need to victim, oh excuse me, "alleged" victim bash. We are Christians after all.
There are three people here who know the truth- the two boys (now adults) and Seraphim. If Archbishop Seraphim wants to continue to be the "leader" of the Church here in Canada, then it is time he act like a leader. Step up and tell us the truth. Why should we have to wait for the results of an investigation to be made public? The TRUTH will set him and all of us free.
Archbishop Seraphim is doing all of us in the Canadian Archdiocese a great disservice by not speaking up and telling us the truth. The fact that he issued a statement about taking a 3 month leave of absence (insinuating it was for medical reasons) and not even mentioning the allegations to the members of this archdiocese is scandalous! As I teach my children a half truth is also a half lie.. Let's hear it all. This is a tell tale sign of the type of leader Archbishop Seraphim is- in my humble opinion, a poor one.
#17 A Principled Canadian on 2010-11-08 21:32
His Beatitude has said as much as he can or should. The principals (accused, plaintiffs, investigating authorities) in the case should not be speaking publicly about any alleged details while an investigation is ongoing. Let the police do their jobs, and if it appears His Eminence has a case to answer (which is only to say that his innocence cannot be asserted positively beyond a reasonable doubt), then give the courts a chance to do THEIR jobs. Nobody on this blog knows what really happened. We'll have plenty of time for "he said/she said" after the process comes to a resolution. I can't see how discussion at this point helps either Archbishop Seraphim or any alleged victims, as much as all who care for them may wish to help. Perhaps we can just concentrate for now on praying for all concerned?
#18 Morton on 2010-11-09 12:13
You are the Administration, as a member of the Metropolitan Council. You offer other comments why not answer from your position on the Metropolitan Council. Seriously. This was discussed at your last meeting.
Did the alleged victims ever come forward directly to the OCA in the past, or was it just rumors about Bishop Seraphim? If they did, when?
In the recent revelations, did the alleged victims come forward BEFORE or AFTER Pokrov and Ms. Skordinski, informed the Winnipeg police?
Thank you for your consideration in answering my questions.
(Editor's note: The administration sits in Syosset, and consists of the officers of the Church. The MC is more like the Board of Directors. It is not involved in the day to day running of the Church, but sets financial, legal and policy goals. It does not implement them.
As for your question: I wasn't even in the United States in the early '80's, so what the then administration knew, or did not, could only be answered by a search of the records in Syosset; assuming they were not among the records taken by the former Chancellor, or shredded by him. As for rumours, I heard none until two years ago, so I doubt they were "floating around" very much, if at all before that time.
As for when and where the Winnepeg police learned of the allegations, and from whom, in what order, once again, only they could answer that. It is a fact that the alleged victims came forward - whether before or after talking to Pokrov, again, I do not know. I do not know if they have ever talked to Pokrov. I am sorry to be so unhelpful. This is a major test for the OCA, and it will be watched by many as a test to see whether change has come, or merely passed through following a brief visit. My hope is that change has moved in - but the question will be answered. It is the responsibility of the Internal Governance Commitee of the MC to make sure the policies adopted by the MC are followed by its members - which include the officers of the Church. Whether the existing Sexual Misconduct policy was followed in this "affair" is a fair question that will be discussed following the conclusion of the Synodal Commission. It does not matter what they decide concerning the allegations; the question facing the OCA is whether our policies have meaning or are simply window dressing to fool "the great unwashed" standing outside looking in....)
#19 Anonymous on 2010-11-09 13:27
All of us in the church, but especially anyone in a role of leadership (teacher, parish council member, etc), should make ourselves familiar with the laws that govern the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse. In the U.S. these laws are generally set at the state level. I make that comment to get the conversation away from "rumors" and to the issue that such laws exist. Someone who suspects (or as the laws often state, reasonably should have known of) child abuse is expected to report it to the civil authorities. (And some people in society, often medical personnel, teachers, youth workers, and sometimes clergy are mandated to report sexual abuse even if they only suspect it). This duty to report does not mean the reporter is making an allegation. They simply are telling the authorities of a concern. The civil authorities then have the responsibility to investigate the report and decide what action, if any, to take. We can keep in mind that though this is now law in most states, it is fairly new in the law books. The Church itself has to change its own climate and culture to conform to these new laws. Sometimes someone in the church is the reporter of such an event to the civil authorities. Sometimes someone in the church is reported to the authorities (and we can hope this isn't often, and work to make sure it isn't!). The Church today must take all reports seriously. This means that the Church has to act upon reports of sexual misconduct of which it becomes aware. This is not acting on rumor, but following the law. If someone warned the Church that a report of sexual misconduct has been made against a clergyman, the Church these days must take that seriously and move to protect its children. A report about sexual misconduct usually exists before an investigation takes place. If the Church is aware of such a report, it will or should (these days) take such actions as to protect its children. This usually means the clergyman involved would be put on leave of absence or suspended while the investigation takes place. This is not the Church taking sides against the clergyman, but rather doing a responsible thing while the report is being investigated. A report being made is not proof of guilt. An investigation taking place is not proof of guilt. A clergyman being suspended is not proof of guilt, nor proof that the Church believes the clergyman guilty. It only means the Church is doing due diligence while an investigation by civil authorities occurs, and/or the Church itself is doing an investigation. (I would say just keep in mind what jurors are told in a trial - the fact that someone is wearing a uniform or holds some position of authority does not mean that person's testimony is more reliable than anyone else's. The same logic applies during an investigation into possible clergy sexual misconduct - everybody's words must be considered fairly and weighed with or against all the evidence and all the pertinent testimonies - both those making the allegations as well as the accused must be given a fair hearing).
#20 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2010-11-09 22:21
Does the OCA have any legal liability in this matter?
I'm guessing no, but if there is a civil liability by a church, which church would it be?
#21 Daniel E. Fall on 2010-11-09 22:56
Thank you for your attempt to bring these discussions back to the substantive subjects. The "lawyering" by both Archbishop Seraphim and Metropolitan Jonah, my diocesan hierarch, shows what is most important to these "shepherds of Christ" ... and it isn't in following the directions given in the New Testament. Rather than doing what is right, they are doing what minimizes their legal exposure. Shame on each of them. They were called to higher standards when consecrated.
Mark C. Phinney
#22 Mark C. Phinney on 2010-11-10 04:27
A Principled Canadian,
Thank you for your courage in calling all of us back to what is most important: the truth, and the Archbishop Seraphim's behavior regarding the accusations.
Mark C. Phinney
#23 Mark C. Phinney on 2010-11-10 04:32
Dear Principled Canadian and Mr Phinney
With regards to Archbishop Seraphim and "lawyering" he only in the last few days "got lawyered up". He has not been hiding behind a lawyer wall of silence.
And what if he came forward today and said "I am innocent of these accusations" would that be enough for you? Is that enough truth for you?
Of course not. It is the underlying assumption of guilt in such cases that, if we are honest, we pre-judge.
Supposedly 30 years ago and only now AFTER Pokrov and Skordinski go to the police do the alleged victims come forward after being "outed"?
Oh and by the way, if he is guilty, then throw the book at him.
#24 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 07:35
Of course His Eminence got "lawyered up." Anyone involved in a court proceding needs representation. Even lawyers need lawyers. The implication that hiring a lawyer is the same as admitting complicity is silly. Good legal advice can save everyone time and, one fervently hopes and prays, heartache.
#25 Morton on 2010-11-10 10:41
I am not offering anything here to alter your storyline, but want to comment generically that in a sense when an allegation of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors is made, two investigations are called for. First, the reporter of the suspected misconduct should go to the civil authorities (this may be mandated by local law). The civil authorities have their own responsibility to investigate such a complaint. Second, the reporter should inform church authorities that such a report has been made with the civil authorities, which then initiates a church investigation. The two investigations will hopefully cooperate to make sure a complete investigation is conducted, but they are two separate investigations: one is deciding criminal liability, the other moral culpability. (The church has to react to such a report even if the police have not yet opened an investigation). The result of the two investigations have different consequences: civil authorities are not concerned with whether the alleged perpetrator is allowed to continue holding a clerical title - that is the church's business, and church authorities are not in the position to order criminal penalties such as jail time. Whether or not the accused is found guilty of a crime, the church can decide the behavior was egregious enough to defrock the cleric. Where there is a separation of church and state, two investigations (one civil and one ecclesiastical) are needed. The church may take into consideration any of the findings of the civil investation and also whatever actions the civil authorities took. But the church's own investigation and actions are not determined by, limited to or coterminus with the civil investigation and civil administration of justice.
#26 Fr. Ted Bobosh on 2010-11-10 11:12
"Anonymous" wrote, "Supposedly 30 years ago and only now AFTER Pokrov and Skordinski go to the police do the alleged victims come forward after being 'outed'?"
Pokrov.org absolutely does not "out" victims. It is for each survivor to decide if, when and how much they wish other people to know about their personal history. While we certainly encourage victims to speak up, and support them when they do, we would never force them into it.
Also, in this particular case we have no actual knowledge as to who the victims are....
I would also add that it is not unusual for victims to come forward 20-30 years after their abuse. Perhaps you might want to peruse the archives of "Abuse Tracker," Kathy Shaw's very informative site, to get an idea of how common this timing actually is.
Pokrov.org does report to the authorities when they suspect that children may be in danger. As Father Ted pointed out, that's what mandatory reporters are supposed to do, and what all others should do.
While Father Alexander Garklavs felt, as he told Cappy in an email, that the OCA didn't possess enough information to report, Cappy and I believed that it was up to the authorities whether or not they could act on the information that we had.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
What is the matter with you people? This is like a shark feeding frenzy! .... Yet, it doesn't matter - as one innocent person exclaimed after being exonerated:
"Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
#28 Anonymous on 2010-11-10 15:37
? Who is 'Skordinski'? This is the first mention of this name I have seen anywhere.
(Editor's note; Dr. Faith Skordinski is an active member of the Metropolitan Council, who served on the Special Investigative Committee during the recent time of troubles in the OCA.)
I absolutely agree, Fr. Ted.
In fact the church also sometimes needs to investigate certain misconduct in cases where there would likely be no criminal charges, such as clergy who have affairs or who transgress certain boundaries with parishioners.
We may never know the truth. With this happening so long ago, a criminal matter may not proceed and the church investigation may turn into a "he said/she said" scenario. Unfortunate, as closure may then be an issue for all involved.
God is in control and it seems to me that no matter the outcome for Seraphim, he obviously needed this for his salvation. I have no idea if he is innocent or guilty of this offense, but I do know he has passed judgement on some in the church without even asking questions or doing any investigation of any type - just "convicted" on the hearsay of others, never trying to reveal the truth. He was wrong to treat people this way. So, in God's wisdom and merciful kindness, it seems Seraphim requires this tribulation, no matter the outcome, all being for salvation. I pray he is able to receive the lesson.
I pray for anyone victimized in such a way (whether we know their names or not), as their burden is great, handed to them through the sinfulness of man.
#31 Troubled on 2010-11-11 13:08
I too have been in a Parish where there was a "conviction" based on hearsay of others.
While Seraphim may or may not be guilty of this latest charge he was one of 3 Bishops mentioned by name in the S.I.C. report.
I too cringed @statements made by his family and the sneaky posting they put on the Canadian website.
#32 SAD CANUCK on 2010-11-11 15:17
.... Are the alleged victims now "cooperating" with the police? Yes or no?
Also, have any other "victims" come forward now that Storheim has been portrayed as a child molester? A simple yes or no answer would suffice.
(Editor's note: #1 Yes. #2: The Police have not released that information. )
#33 Anonymous on 2010-11-12 08:18
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