Priest pleads no contest to charges of fondling girl

Author: Chuck Murphy
Date Published: 11/04/1989

BROOKSVILLE – A Greek Orthodox priest from Largo has pleaded no contest to charges that he fondled a 15-year-old girl at a church retreat near Brooksville.

He was sentenced to 10 years’ probation and ordered to stay away from children as a condition of probation.

Hernando County court records show that the Rev. John Michael Liadis, 56, of 12763 112th St. N in Largo entered the no-contest plea Oct. 25 to one count of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 16.

Circuit Judge Richard Tombrink sentenced Liadis to 10 years’ probation and a $500 fine. Liadis also was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and attend counseling sessions if doctors determined they were needed.

Additionally, Tombrink ordered Liadis to have no contact with children under 18 during his probationary period. Tombrink said, however, that Liadis would be allowed to continue working at the Greek Orthodox Youth Center near Brooksville where the incident occurred June 8, but that Liadis is not allowed to be at the camp any time children are present.

Arrest records show that Liadis was arrested July 7 and charged with fondling a 15-year-old Orlando girl through her clothes on the night of June 8. In a deposition the girl gave to Liadis’ defense attorney, she charged that the priest hugged her on that night in his home at the camp, but that he then refused to release her and grabbed her breast and between her legs.

The girl, whose parents were close friends of Liadis, was doing cleanup work at the camp in preparation for the first session of summer camp when the incident occurred.

Officials of the Greek Orthodox Church diocese in Atlanta could not be reached for comment Friday on what effect Liadis’ plea would have on his status with the church. But the Rev. Tryfon Theophilopoulos, who is pastor of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tarpon Springs, said at the time of Liadis’ arrest that Liadis had been relieved of his duties at the church camp.