Alleged HC Seminarian Sex Abuser Used Drugs

Author: Theodore Kalmoukos
Date Published: 08/24/2012

Ex- HC Student is Accused of Abuse Of Teenage Girl

BOSTON, MA – John Smyrni, the student enrolled at the Holy Cross Theological Seminary in Brookline, MA who reportedly sexually abused a teenage girl on campus was a drug addict. He is Greek-American, 52 years of age, and married with six children. TNH first broke the story on June 15.

The School expelled him immediately. The Authorities had taken Smyrni’s children into custody after his wife also tested positive for drugs immediately after she had given birth to their sixth child.

The blog titled “Republican Blogspot” had reported the following on August 5, 2008: “John Smyrni, a consumer advocate who has been through the system as a drug abuser with children, tells how he got off meth at age 42 even while raising six children. He lost his children to the system, and explains that even though he loved his children he found that he needed the meth even after losing his children. His children were taken away with ten minutes’ notice after his wife tested positive for drugs after giving birth to their sixth child. He finally was able to admit drug use that he had been hiding from a counselor. It took him seven months to go through the system to kick his addiction and get his children back.”

Smyrni somehow became a counselor at the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. A Program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smyrni was giving seminars on July 16 to 20 in Nashville TN. Smyrni was involved at his home parish of St. Anna in Roseville, CA. He was also around children at the camp.

On August 2010 he wrote in the official parish bulletin: “300 kids, beautiful weather, an incredible monastery, great counselors, awesome clergy, wonderful programs, and of course the core of it all—Jesus Christ and our Orthodox Life program—which led us to be able to achieve our goal, and our theme for the summer camp sessions which was to Claim Your Faith.” He was the codirector of the program.

His parish priest Fr. Christopher Flesoras from St. Anna declined to comment, though he informed Smyrni that TNH requested an interview. Smyrni also declined.

Flesoras sent a written statement to TNH saying that “Thank you for contacting me this afternoon, although I feel it inappropriate for me to comment other than noting that I can only offer my continued heartfelt prayers and hope in the Resurrection for those who were involved, as well as those who were affected. May repentance, forgiveness, healing and righteousness be our common resolve for these individuals, families and our greater Orthodox Community.”

Rev. Nicholas Triantafillou, president of Hellenic College – Holy Cross, told TNH on June 15 that “the School took immediate and appropriate action [regarding the suspect and the victim and her family].”

Triantafillou refused to discuss the girl’s condition or whether the authorities had been notified. Despite TNH’s persistence in seeking further comment, he said “I cannot say anything else at this moment. The lawyer has told me to be careful.”

After TNH broke the story, Triantafilou sent a memorandum to the entire Hellenic College – Holy Cross Community saying: “it is with great sorrow and pain that I address you regarding a recent action and ongoing investigation. On April 27, a seminarian was expelled from Holy Cross for an incident of serious misconduct with a young adult woman. Given that she had been a member of our community in recent years as a minor, the police have been contacted by the School regarding this matter.

Understand and share the distress that this event has caused our community. I invite all faculty, staff, students and families in the area to gather in the Holy Cross Chapel to chant the Paraklesis Service to the Most Holy Theotokos on Monday, June 18 at 1PM to ask healing for our community and those whose lives have been impacted. I trust that all of you who are away will be worshipping and praying with us together in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Let our prayer remind us that God can heal every wound.

I remind all of you of the excellent resources in our campus clergy and the Office of Spiritual Formation and Counseling Services for support during this challenging time in the life of our community.”

Smyrni’s family lived on campus, as did the girl’s family because her father was a student at Holy Cross and already an ordained priest.

The families of the alleged perpetrator and alleged victim knew each other and both lived in the dormitories that were built in the 1980s for the married students and their families. A large portion of the tuition expenses of the students are covered by grants given to the School by Leadership 100 that amount to more than $1 million per year. Today there are more than 60 children of various ages who live on campus.

The teenage girl babysat the suspect’s younger children. She was a high school student in the area but lived with her parents on campus.

TNH has learned also that the suspect was giving drugs to the teenage girl and at some point she was taken to the hospital for overdose.

When the girl’s father found accidentally from another priest, he immediately confronted Triantafillou, who seemed to have known everything. Triantafillou immediately expelled Smyrni from the School a few weeks prior to graduation, on April 27. Smyrni had been studying Theology to become an Orthodox priest and eventually serve at Greek Orthodox parishes.

The girl is nowhere to be found today. Even her family does not know where she is. Private detectives have been hired to locate her.

Despite many efforts, TNH was unable to communicate with the alleged perpetrator. TNH has learned that Smyrni’s wife took the children and left to return to their hometown in California, while he has stayed behind in the New England area. He has not appeared at the Theological School since he was expelled.

TNH has also learned that Triantafillou has fully informed Archbishop Demetrios of America, who is also Chairman of the School’s Board of Trustees. TNH was unable to contact the victim’s family and does not know if they contacted law enforcement or whether they will pursue legal action against the perpetrator, the School, and the Archdiocese.