Priest Arrested In Molestation Attempt
Sex crimes: After his arrest, officials at church where he volunteered learned he is a convicted child molester. The incident has revived ill will toward church named in McMartin case.
A Greek Orthodox priest who counseled teen-agers at a Hermosa Beach church-and who for years hid the fact that he is a convicted child molester-has been arrested for allegedly trying to force himself on a teen-age boy last month while they were house-sitting for a parishioner.
Stanley Adamakis, 47, a volunteer at St. Cross Episcopal Church who was known to church teen-agers as ”Father Stan,” turned himself in to Hermosa Beach police last week after an 18-year-old and his mother reported the Dec. 17 incident, police said yesterday.
Reached at his home in Northridge, Adamakis refused to comment on the arrest. He is free on $17,500 bond and will be arraigned Jan. 23 in South Bay Municipal Court.
He had not worked as a priest for at least 15 years and was facing defrockment for alleged ”sexual misbehavior,” said an official of the Western Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Adamakis is an administrator of a suicide prevention program for Family Services of Los Angeles, a private, nonprofit organization in Los Angeles.
Though detectives described the incident as ”your basic child molestation case,” the arrest has revived long-simmering ill will in the community toward the landmark church. In the past four years, St. Cross has struggled to rebound from testimony in the 1985 preliminary hearing in the McMartin Pre-School molestation case that children were molested and forced to witness satanic rituals there.
”This is a sad and difficult experience, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said the Rev. Jack Eales of St. Cross.
Eales said the church is still being vandalized-most recently by a group of self-described ”moral vigilantes.” After throwing eggs at the rectory on Christmas Eve, the group left a note warning that ”there is no place for Satan worship in this town.”
Despite vigilance in the South Bay about child molestation because of the McMartin case, Eales said it ”never crossed anyone’s mind” to screen the scores of volunteers who help out at the church.
”We just never checked,” Eales said. ”There never seemed a reason to. I suspect it’s just in our nature, being a church, to reach out to people and be basically trusting.”
Since the arrest, the church has banished Adamakis and decided to screen volunteers as well as church employees, he said.
It wasn’t until after Adamakis’ arrest that Eales learned that the volunteer had a criminal record. Adamakis is serving five years’ probation after being sentenced to 78 days in jail for fondling two adolescent Torrance brothers in 1984.
Adamakis met the boys, ages 12 and 13, through one of their neighbors who was a friend of his, Torrance police records show. The boys told police that Adamakis had threatened and intimidated them before the assault. He was convicted in 1986.
A Greek Orthodox Church bishop in San Francisco said a defrockment action has been pending against Adamakis for more than a year, stemming from repeated, but never substantiated, allegations of ”sexual misbehavior.”
”He should have been defrocked long ago,” said the head of the Western Diocese, who is known only by his religious title, Bishop Anthony. ”There were always rumors about him, but no one would (press) charges. And without somebody to sign a complaint, even the church could do nothing.”
The bishop said Adamakis had not been active in the church for ”15 or 20 years” and had been forced to leave posts in Montreal and Albuquerque because of unproven molestation allegations. Adamakis was in such disfavor, the bishop said, that when his father died in Northridge three years ago, the church refused his request to celebrate his father’s funeral Mass.
In the South Bay, too, Adamakis had a clouded reputation, acquaintances and court records indicate.
In 1981, for example, he was hired as director of the South Bay Free Clinic. A clinic administrator at the time said he told her that he was a Greek Orthodox priest who had developed an interest in secular work after administering a church project in Montreal designed to employ seasonal workers.
But after just four weeks, said then-administrator Regina Kodimer, Adamakis was asked to leave.
In public statements that were made at the time, the clinic directors cited a difference in management philosophy. But Kodimer said yesterday that two boys in the clinic’s teen-advocate program had complained that Adamakis had ”come on to them.”
Kodimer said neither youth wanted to press charges. After Adamakis resigned, she said, none of his future employers ever called her to ask for his references.
”Perhaps it would have been wiser if we had pressed charges, but the kids did not want to get involved,” she said.
Officials at Family Services of Los Angeles confirmed Thursday that Adamakis works there, then declined comment.
Eales said Adamakis first came to St. Cross about two years ago, showing up occasionally at church services and then at church social events. He was so ”personally likable, warm, friendly, and knowledgeable about theology” that he immediately ingratiated himself, particularly with the teen-agers in the church, who ”just loved him,” Eales said.
Within a few months, he said, the youths invited Adamakis to become a volunteer counselor. Adamakis began attending weekly Sunday night youth meetings and even accompanied a group of teen-agers and chaperons on a camping trip to the Episcopal Diocese’s Camp Stephens near Julian.
Eales said neither the teens nor the adults ever reported any problem with ”Father Stan.”
But in the aftermath of his December arrest, several other youths have reported that Adamakis tried to seduce them, said Hermosa Beach Detective Tom Bohlin.
Bohlin said none of the youths came forward, either because they were embarrassed or because they felt Adamakis was harmless.
”They just viewed it as a homosexual encounter, and they just said, `No, Father Stan, I’m not that way,’ and shined it on,” Bohlin said.
The allegations that led to Adamakis’ arrest were made on the afternoon of Dec. 17, when the alleged victim and his mother went to the Hermosa Beach police, Bohlin said.
The 18-year-old, who lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, told detectives that he had gone to a home on the Strand in Hermosa Beach the night before to sleep over with two 17-year-old friends, one of whom was a member of Adamakis’ youth group, he said.
Adamakis had been invited to chaperon the youths by the parents, who were out of town.
The reasoning, Bohlin said, was: ”What’s better than to have a priest watch your children while you’re away for the weekend?”
According to a police report, Adamakis bought beer for the youths and they got drunk while watching television movies. As they prepared for bed, the report said, Adamakis told the 18-year-old that he should remove his clothes, which were dirty, before he went to sleep in a clean bed.
The teen-ager awoke about 2:30 a.m. when the older man crawled into bed and fondled him, the police report said. The youth reportedly told Adamakis that he was in ”big trouble.” When the youth ran off to awaken his friends, Adamakis left the house, the report said.
The Adamakis case has revived protests by parents who sent their children in the mid-1980s to the St. Cross preschool, which was forced to close. One mother who claims that her daughter was molested at the church said in an interview Thursday that she and other parents will renew calls for an investigation of the church by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
But diocesan officials declined to comment on the previous allegations because a jury is still deliberating in the McMartin case. They said they are investigating the Adamakis incident.
Times Staff Writers Dean Murphy and Barbara Koh contributed to this story.