Accuser: Archdiocese Did Not Tell the Truth About Katinas

Author: Dan Ziagos
Date Published: 11/07/2008
Publication: The National Herald

The following letter was written by Dan Ziagos, one of former priest Nicholas Katinas’ accusers.

To the Editor:

I am deeply angered and saddened by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s (GOAA) recent press release from October 30, 2008, “Archdiocese Settles Dallas Lawsuit.” The GOAA did not tell the truth about the Katinas case and his predatory acts of sexual molestation of children.

First of all, the GOAA plants a seed of doubt of whether Katinas actually sexually abused children by using the word “alleged” in the phrase “alleged misconduct by Katinas in the 1970s.”

This is not true! Katinas’ sexual misconduct is not “alleged”. Katinas’ pedophilia is very real. In the spring of 2006, Katinas admitted to Assistant Chancellor Kontogiorgis that he had molested children. This admission culminated in the GOAA suspending
Katinas and his eventual defrocking.

Secondly, the press release states that “The Archdiocese and Holy Trinity Church had no knowledge of Mr. Katinas’ wrongdoing prior to a complaint made to the Archdiocesan Chancellor’s Office in late 2005.”

Again, another false statement! There are sworn testimonies in the legal pleadings that clearly show church officials received notice of Katinas’ misconduct as early as 1977 when Katinas was the priest of the Assumption church in Olympia Fields, Illinois.

An Assumption parish council member had been advised by his own doctor, a psychiatrist who also counseled Katinas, that Katinas “should be kept away from boys”.

This council member acted upon the psychiatrist’s information and advised the GOAA and the Greek Orthodox Diocese in Chicago for the purpose of protecting the children in the church. When a job opportunity became available in Dallas, the GOAA transferred Katinas there and told the Assumption parish that it was an opportunity for Katinas to better provide for his large family.

The real reason (sexual abuse of children) for Katinas’ transfer was kept secret in order to protect Katinas’ family and avoid scandal to the church.

Moreover, in 1987 parishioners at Holy Trinity, whose son was an altar boy serving under Katinas, made a sexual abuse report to the GOAA. Several witnesses — including Fr. Triantafillou, the Vicar General doing the investigation — gave sworn testimony that this investigation took place. The outcome? Yet another cover-up that resulted in the sexual abuse of many future victims.

Thirdly, the GOAA states that “the case was handled according to the protocols laid out in the Archdiocesan clergy misconduct policy.” The GOAA did not follow their policy! The clergy misconduct policy states that the disciplining of a clergyman shall be disclosed by the GOAA to all the parishes of the clergyman.

In this case, the GOAA only met with the Holy Trinity parish, even though the original sexual abuse complaint occurred at the Assumption church. Moreover, the GOAA never met with the Madison (Wisconsin) parish, where Katinas also served.

Finally, the GOAA states that “Katinas was suspended from all priestly functions after a prompt investigation of the charges?”.

I don’t believe the investigation was “prompt.” The original sexual misconduct complaint was filed in October, 2005. Katinas was secretly suspended nine months later, in July, 2006, and his suspension, due to sexual misconduct with children, was announced to the Holy Trinity parish in February, 2007. In October, 2005, Katinas should have immediately been suspended, and kept away from the parish’s children, pending an investigation. The GOAA placed the parish children at
great risk in the nine months it took to suspend Katinas, and caused much confusion and disruption in the parish by waiting seven months to explain the reason for the suspension.

The settlement does bring some closure for the victims/survivors and the GOAA did correctly identify this as a painful matter. The church teaches us to follow Christ’s teachings and to try to be honest with each other in our daily lives. However the GOAA is not serving as a role model for its parishioners in how they handled this
case. The GOAA’s actions are making a painful matter much worse for everyone, especially the victims/survivors. To date, seven victims/survivors have come forward to the GOAA. How many other silent Katinas victims are there, who have not yet come forward, and who could benefit by the church sincerely reaching out to help them
start the healing process?

Dan Ziagos
California