OH–Ousted abusive bishop back on the job
For immediate release: Monday, June 29, 2015
Bishop retired for sexual misconduct is quietly reinstated
He now works as a “parish priest” in a Pennsylvania church
Victims say it’s an “dangerous, deceptive and callous” move
SNAP wants Orthodox Church officials to take immediate action
A support group for survivors of sexual abuse recently received a phone tip that an Orthodox bishop retired for sexual misconduct was now working as a “parish priest” in a Pennsylvania church.
Bishop Matthias Moriak was retired by the synod of bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) on April 15, 2013, after he was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct.
However, on June 26, 2015, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) received a phone tip that the bishop was working at a parish in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. While there was no indication that Moriak was working at the parish on the OCA’s website, the contact page for Holy Cross Orthodox Church directed emails to “Bishop Matthias – Parish Priest.”
Melanie Jula Sakoda of SNAP was appalled to learn the tip was verified. “It’s outrageous and reckless for Archbishop Nathaniel to allow a cleric who the Church determined to have engaged in sexual misconduct to be reinstated as a parish priest.”
“Even when a clergyman engages in sexual misconduct with an adult, the resulting damage can be serious,” added Cappy Larson, also of SNAP. “In the 16 years I have been working with Orthodox victims, two who were abused as adults were in such pain that they chose to end their own lives.”
“The OCA synod needs to put a stop to this,” concluded Sakoda.
The OCA had earlier considered returning Moriak to active ministry, and SNAP had objected at the time. The group had assumed that the synod had reconsidered the wisdom of this move when they retired the bishop.