Orthodox Archbishop testifies against sexual assault charges in Winnipeg court

Author: Julia Parrish
Date Published: 09/12/2013
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An Orthodox Archbishop with an Edmonton connection has taken the stand in his own defence in a Winnipeg courtroom, in response to sexual assault allegations.

In court Thursday morning, Seraphim Storheim responded to an allegation that one young boy saw him naked and touching himself.

“It didn’t happen, I’ve never done that,” Storheim testified.

That allegation is one of several Storheim faces surrounding the alleged sexual assault of two pre-teen brothers in Winnipeg about 30 years ago.

The alleged victims had previously testified Storheim walked around naked, and asked them to touch him sexually – allegations Storheim denied in court Thursday, also saying he never saw the boys naked.

Storheim said when the brothers visited him, he said he talked to them about puberty; a topic he said was prompted by a mention in the book of Genesis of bodily discharges.

The accused testified that his only intention was to explain the scriptures to the boys – and called the conversation he had with them as “One of the stupider things I’ve done in my life.”

Storheim was born in Edmonton, and became the top cleric in Canada for the Orthodox Church in America in 2007, although he’s currently on leave from that position pending a verdict.

The Orthodox Church is separate from other Orthodox Christian religions, such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Storheim’s trial continues in Winnipeg.

With files from CTV Winnipeg and The Canadian Press