Queens man arrested on sex abuse charges involving 14-year-old boy

Author:
Date Published: 04/18/2002

NEW YORK: A Greek Orthodox clergyman who was defrocked years ago in a sexual abuse case was arrested Thursday on charges he abused a 14-year-old boy.

Pangratios Vrionis, 58, was charged with sexual abuse and attempted sexual abuse, both in the third degree, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Vrionis identified himself to authorities as the archbishop of Ss. Fanourios and Gerasimos Cathedral in Queens’ Woodside section.

The prosecutor said that on Feb. 1, 1999, Vrionis showed the teen-ager a pornographic videocassette depicting males engaged in sex, then “touched the boy sexually by putting his hand inside the youth’s pants.”

A telephone number for the church was answered by an automated phone company recording. There was no phone listing for Vrionis.

Vrionis has been teaching Greek and religion to children, according to the New York Post.

Law enforcement officials said that in 1970, Vrionis pleaded guilty to sodomizing two 14-year-old boys at his home, then in Harrisburg, Pa. He was sentenced to 23 months of probation for sodomy and corrupting morals of children, according to Pennsylvania officials.

Vrionis was defrocked but went on to found the independent Orthodox church in Queens, the Post said.

If convicted on the current charges, he could face three months in jail.