Archbishop accused of abuse

Author: Gabrielle Giroday
Date Published: 10/06/2010
Archbishop Storheim
Archbishop Storheim

Allegations date back to ’80s in Winnipeg ; Head of Orthodox church takes a leave

Winnipeg police are investigating claims a Canadian archbishop sexually abused boys when he was a priest in Winnipeg almost 30 years ago.

An American advocacy group for abuse survivors said the claims against Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim), head of the Orthodox Church in America, Archdiocese of Canada, surfaced two years ago.

Two men say they were abused in the early 1980s while they visited Winnipeg as 10-year-olds.

“I find it extremely disturbing that they have kept this a secret, I find it disturbing that they have not suspended this man from his duties and his responsibility, and taken him out of his position of power over innocent people,” said Cappy Larson, the San Francisco-based co-founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Orthodox, which bills itself as a resource for abuse survivors in the Orthodox churches.

The group says the matter came to the attention of the church more than 20 years ago.

“I’m very upset that there are young boys who are possibly in danger and they have done nothing to warn any of the parents or anybody in the diocese,” said Larson.

“I believe that they should have done something 25 years ago, but at least these last two years, when these allegations resurfaced, this man should have been removed immediately and people should have been warned.”

The archbishop, who has not been charged with any criminal offence, went on a leave of absence last week.

Bishop Ir