Archbishop sex-abuse trial adjourned to September

Author: Aldo Santin
Date Published: 06/19/2013
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim (PAT MCGRATH / POSTMEDIA NEWS ARCHIVES)
Archbishop Seraphim Storheim (PAT MCGRATH / POSTMEDIA NEWS ARCHIVES)

The trial of an Orthodox archbishop charged with sexually assaulting two 11-year-old brothers during the summer of 1985 has been adjourned to September.

Defence counsel for Seraphim Storheim requested additional time to prepare a defence after Justice Christopher Mainella ruled earlier this week that the testimony of the two brothers could be used in weighing each other’s allegations.

Defence counsel Jeff Gindin told court he is considering bringing in an expert witness in the fall, and possibly other witnesses.

It’s possible Storheim could also take the stand.

Storheim was the parish priest at Holy Trinity Sobor Orthodox church on Manitoba Avenue at the time of the alleged abuse. Storheim had befriended the boys’ family while he served at another parish in another community, and the boys visited him separately that summer.

The complainants, who are now 39, testified that Storheim regularly walked around naked and asked them to touch him sexually.

However, one brother’s testimony was often vague and confusing, his recollection of events was poor and he admitted he suffered a range of mental illnesses. The testimony of the other brother was clear and detailed about the alleged incidents.

Storheim today is an archbishop with the Orthodox Church in America, which has historical ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. He had been the most senior cleric of his church in Canada when the charges were laid in the fall of 2011, holding the title of Archbishop of Ottawa and Canada but was subsequently suspended from that post pending the outcome of the criminal charges and an internal church investigation.