Father Eugene N. Bourdukofsky

Bourdukofsky in 2003 (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Anchorage Daily News)
Bourdukofsky in 2003 (Photo by Bob Hallinen/Anchorage Daily News)

Fr. Eugene N. Bourdukofsky was a priest in the Orthodox Church of America (OCA), Diocese of Alaska. He served at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka, Alaska, from 1974 until 1997 when he was removed from his position. In 1997 Bishop Innocent (Gula) was the auxillary bishop in Alaska. However, Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor) was the ultimate authority.

While the OCA yearbook for 1998 did not indicate why Fr. Eugene was forced out of St. Michael’s, it did note that he was suspended from the priesthood on September 16, 1997. Fr. Eugene was subsequently defrocked, on October 22, 1997.

In 2001 the FBI received a report from the church that Fr. Eugene had been embezzling money from St. Michael’s tourism account from 1994 through 1997. There apparently was no earlier report by the diocese, and there was no internal investigation of the crime.

Bourdukofsky pled guilty to the crime in late 2002, admitting to skimming about $70,000 from a tourism account for his and his family’s use. In April, 2003, the former priest was sentenced to four months in a halfway house and eight months of home detention with electronic monitoring as part of his five-year probation. He was also ordered to pay $70,000 in restitution.

Moreover, the judge added restrictions on Bourdukofsky’s future contact with minors to the sentence, apparently because the presentencing report contained allegations of child sexual abuse. The judge prohibited Bourdukofsky from activities that required contact with minor children, and further ordered him to have no unsupervised contact with minors.

Bourdukofsky had been expected to receive a sentence of eight to fourteen months in prison in return for his plea. However, the judge indicated that he lessened the severity of the sentence because the church had forgiven the former priest. Fr. Michael Oleksa, at the time the dean of St. Innocent Cathedral in Alaska and Bourdukofsky’s parish priest, told the judge that the church didn’t want Bourdukofsky to go to jail. The lighter sentence allowed the former priest to remain in Anchorage and keep the job he had had there for five years.