‘Pastor’ Admits To Abuse of Boy; Church head pleads guilty ot ’99 incident

Author: Herbert Lowe
Date Published: 05/15/2003

A self-appointed Sunnyside pastor who was defrocked by the Greek Orthodox Church in 1970 after being convicted of sodomizing two boys pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually abusing a Queens boy in 1999.

James Vrionis, also known as Pangratios Vrionis, 59, appeared in Criminal Court in Kew Gardens with two attorneys and four witnesses for a trial on two misdemeanor charges.

But after a pretrial hearing, Judge Steven Paynter arranged a plea deal that called for the pastor to confess to sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse in exchange for no jail time and a year’s probation.

Vrionis must also get private counseling for sex offenders and, under Megan’s Law, report his address to authorities every 90 days. The authorities will also share his photo and status with schools.

The pastor had been free on $1,500 bail since his arrest on April 18, 2002 and had faced up to 90 days in jail if convicted.

Vrionis, who refers to himself as the archbishop of his own independent church, called Sts. Fanourios & Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Cathedral, admitted fondling a then-14-year-old boy on Feb. 1, 1999, at the church. At the time, he was showing the boy a pornographic movie depicting two men having sex, prosecutors said.

Authorities said the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America defrocked Vrionis in 1970 after he was convicted of sexually abusing two boys.

The Queens boy, now 17, and his parents watched as Vrionis pleaded guilty yesterday.

“I was looking for him to admit what he did and I want people to know so they can protect their children,” the boy’s mother said.