Former Orthodox subdeacon convicted for a second time

Author: Melanie Jula Sakoda
Date Published: 12/26/2014
Publication: Pokrov.org
Robert Aaron Mitchell, Michigan Department of Corrections, 12/16/2014
Robert Aaron Mitchell, Michigan Department of Corrections, 12/16/2014

Pokrov.org recently learned that a former Orthodox subdeacon who is a registered sex offender is back in prison.

Robert Aaron Mitchell pleaded guilty to one count of “Child Sexually Abusive Commercial Activity” on October 9, 2014 (Case No. 14-006322-01-FH). On December 15th, he was sentenced to a term of 7 years 6 months to 20 years in prison. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, the earliest Mitchell could be released is April 30, 2022, the latest October 31, 2034.

The former subdeacon was charged on June 18, 2014, with 3 counts of “Child Sexually Abusive Commercial Activity” and one count of “Criminal Sexual Conduct — Second Degree (person under 13).” The criminal sexual conduct charge was dismissed on July 23rd. Two of other three counts were dismissed as part of the plea bargain. A copy of the register of actions in the case is linked above.

Mitchell had an earlier conviction for child abduction in Illinois. Despite this 1998 conviction, he was tonsured as a Reader and blessed as Subdeacon by  Archbishop Nathaniel Popp on March 2, 2003. According to Popp, on November 20, 2013, Mitchell was stripped of the title of subdeacon after allegations of sexual misconduct were substantiated by the Office for Review of Sexual Misconduct Allegations of the Orthodox Church in America.