Archbishop charged with sexual assault
Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim, who has held positions in a number of Canadian communities with the Orthodox Church in America, has been arrested and charged in Winnipeg with two counts of sexual assault.
Storheim, 64, turned himself in to Winnipeg police on Wednesday at about 9:30 a.m., police announced Thursday.
Storheim has been released from custody on a promise to appear in court at a later date.
In October, CBC News reported he stepped down as head of the Canadian diocese of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) amid allegations of sexual abuse involving pre-teen boys.
In a statement released on the OCA website in October, church officials said Storheim was on a leave of absence as police in Canada investigated abuse claims.
The allegations are 25 years old, according to Const. Robert Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service, which was leading the investigation.
A warrant for Storheim’s arrest was issued Nov. 16, police said.
Storheim flew to the city and turned himself in with a lawyer present, police said. He was most recently living in Edmonton.
Storheim was the rector of Holy Trinity Sobor [parish] in Winnipeg’s North End from December 1984 to June 1987, according to an online biography on the church’s website.
He has also held positions at churches in London, Ont., Saskatoon, North Carolina and Alberta.
In a September letter to his congregation announcing he was taking a three-month leave, Storheim suggested he was doing so for health reasons.
Group sought investigation for 2 years
Melanie Sakoda of a Chicago-based victims’ organization called SNAP — Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests — told CBC News the group has been pushing for an investigation into complaints about Storheim for two years.
She said the church shouldn’t have taken so long to act.
“It makes me frustrated and angry but not surprised. They have a habit of protecting the clergy rather than doing everything possible to make sure children are safe,” she said.
Sakoda is glad charges have finally been laid and applauded “the brave victims that [came forward to] make this possible.”
“Children deserve to be protected. They deserve to have a safe place to go to church.”
Police are asking anyone with information that might assist investigators to contact the sex crimes unit at 204-986-6245.