Holy Synod set to defrock priest who harassed foster child
The priest who sexually harassed Elena Frantzi when she was his foster daughter is expected to be defrocked in two weeks by the Holy Synod, it emerged on Wednesday.
According to reports, the Holy Synod will convene on April 19 and the decision will move towards defrocking Father Stylianos who served 18 months in prison for sexually harassing Frantzi, 29, when she was under his wing between the age of four to 10.
Frantzi took her own life in her Nicosia home last month. The news of her death and that the priest had been reinstated after his release despite the sentence and nature of the offences he committed caused public outrage.
The Holy Synod is also expected to defrock another priest from Paphos for having an extramarital affair.
Father Stylianos had been the local priest at Ergates village before he went to jail. His first posting after his release was a convent.
Meanwhile, friends and family of Frantzi, announced on Wednesday they were seeking to create a foundation supporting abuse victims.
According to an announcement by a lawyer appointed by the family, Stavros Stavrianides, her family said they would, in the near future, propose creating a foundation named after Frantzi, that would offer legal, psychological and social support to abuse victims and promote research into these topics.
“We hope for financial funds from the state for the creation of this foundation,” the statement added.
They also called on journalists, psychologists and the media to respect Frantzi’s memory and stop presenting inaccurate information.
They also appealed for the details of Frantzi’s life to be respected and not be exposed to the public.
“We reserve our right to proceed with a police report for insulting a deceased person,” said a statement.
As an adult, Frantzi had alleged she had suffered years of trauma at the hands of her foster parents – Father Stylianos and his wife – until the age of 10. In the ensuing court case, the priest was jailed for 18 months for sexual harassment as there was not enough evidence to convict him of rape. He was reinstated as a priest on his release.
The family hailed a decision by the Bishop of Tamassos to have the Holy Synod re-examine that decision to reinstate the priest.
Thanking members of the public, NGOs and political persons for their support to them and to Frantzi while she was still alive, they also welcomed a decision by the attorney-general to re-open the file and prosecute the priest’s wife for physical abuse.
The foster mother had been accused of being violent against Frantzi when she was under her care but was not charged. During one court appeal by the priest, the judge had noted that the treatment Frantzi had endured as a child was akin to torture and that the foster mother should also be prosecuted.