Catherine Metropoulos writes to Pokrov.org
Years before the clergy sexual abuse within the Catholic Church made headlines across the nation, the former Rev. Emmanuel Koveos was convicted and imprisoned for sexually molesting our young daughter at the Dormition of the Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church in Burlington, Vermont. (State vs. Koveos – Docket number 398-1-97) On appeal, the Vermont Supreme Court later affirmed this jury decision, and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople defrocked him in 1999.
Today as this young victim, our family, and the Greek community continue with the long and difficult search for closure, I am very angered that Emmanuel Koveos is now resurrecting this case by filing a Petition for Post Conviction Relief with the Superior Court of Vermont. In this action, Koveos alleges that his defense attorney, Karen Shingler, violated his right to a fair trial and denied his right to effective assistance of counsel. Although I do wholeheartedly agree that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, there is no question that Emmanuel Koveos did indeed receive just that. The facts of the trial will always remain the same, no matter how many times it is heard by judge and jury. Even Judge James Crucitti himself, who presided at the 1998 trial, said then in open court that, “he was sorry Koveos was in “complete denial,” adding that he agreed with the twelve jurors who convicted him. “I have no doubt of your guilt,” he said.” (Burlington Free Press, May 22, 1998)
In this same Burlington Free Press article, it is also noted that Koveos “had told the court that he never had any problems during his many years of service as a religious leader in Lowell and Quincy, Massachusetts; Concord, New Hampshire; Texas; Pennsylvania; and Vermont.” This, however, has been proven untrue. The article went on to say that during the trial, the prosecution tried to introduce testimony about a 1988 incident in which Koveos allegedly fondled a young woman while he served in Concord, New Hampshire. In a sworn statement to police, the woman said that “Koveos made her touch him improperly and that he kissed her on the lips.” Unfortunately, this testimony was successfully blocked by the defense at trial. However, even without this witness’s testimony Koveos was convicted.
Also, church records will prove that there were additional difficulties in Koveos’ parishes. While Koveos was the pastor at St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Quincy, Massachusetts, the parish council cut his salary in half and changed the locks on the church. In addition, we recently learned that some twenty years ago Koveos had been summoned by Church officials to attend spiritual court in response to a report of clergy sexual misconduct while he served at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
Should Koveos be successful with his impending case and granted a retrial, there is no question that this time the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese would be deposed and questioned about Koveos’ past history and character, potentially causing yet another public church scandal. However, as is now so apparent within the Catholic Church today, the Greek Church would not be finding themselves in this predicament as well had clergy sexual misconduct been properly addressed years ago within the church.
A trial date is scheduled for January 8 and 9 of 2003.