Former archbishop guilty of molesting one twin

Author: Kristin Annable
Date Published: 01/24/2014
Archbishop Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim leaves the Law Courts Building after testifying in his own defence on Thursday. (KEVIN KING/WINNIPEG SUN)
Archbishop Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim leaves the Law Courts Building after testifying in his own defence on Thursday. (KEVIN KING/WINNIPEG SUN)

Former archbishop Kenneth (Seraphim) Storheim was found guilty Friday of one count of sexually molesting a young boy — and cleared of a charge he molested the boy’s twin — in incidents from nearly 30 years ago.

The 68-year-old, who was previously the Canadian Archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America, stood accused of molesting two pre-teen twin brothers in the mid-1980s when he was the rector at Holy Trinity Sobor in Winnipeg.

Stating that the evidence produced by one twin had a “lack of reliability,” due to the twin’s struggles with alcoholism and mental instability, Justice Chris Mainella found Storheim not guilty in one of the charges of sexual assault.

Storheim sat stoically throughout the court proceedings. Dressed in black, with a bushy, long white beard, he had little reaction to Mainella’s decision to find him guilty on the other charge of sexual assault.

“He was a credible witness, who had no reason to not tell the truth,” Mainella said of the other twin, who later became a successful businessman. “The overall impression is that he was not careless with the truth.”

One of the boys testified that Storheim inspected his genitals for pubic hair and his pyjamas for semen. He also testified that Storheim hugged him in bed.

The now 39-year-old brothers both testified that Storheim would frequently lay naked on the living room floor holding his penis.

Mainella pointed to inconsistencies in Storheim’s testimony, including his statement that he was teaching the twins about puberty through bible study.

“This goes beyond a mere misguided study in puberty,” Mainella said.

A statement from the Archdiocese of Canada said that was suspended in November of 2010 after the Archbishop turned himself in to police. He remained on suspension pending the completion of reports from a Synodal Commission that was appointed to review the charges from an internal Church perspective.

The outcome from this report could be Storheim’s removal from the church.

Storheim remains on bail and his attorney, Jeff Gindin, said he is heading back to his home in Ottawa. His sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled, at that time Gindin said they will be arguing that jail time is not necessary.

“On the scale of sexual assaults, this would certainly be on the lower level compared to some that you see,” Gindin said. “Certainly, 30 years gone by, with no additional charges and no record, given his age I think it is reasonable to argue that jail isn’t necessary.”

Gindin said they will most likely file an appeal after the sentencing.

Twitter: @kristinannable