Russian ‘celebrity’ priest detained for alleged child sexual offences

Author: Barry Duke
Date Published: 09/30/2019
Publication: Patheos

FATHER Nicolay Stremsky, above, who heads the largest family in Russia – he has 70 children who he adopted or fathered – is in police custody after it was alleged that he abused kids in his care.

Described as a “celebity priest” in Orenburg, a city about 1,200 km southeast of Moscow, Stremsky, a veteran of the Afghan war who was ordained a Russian Orthodox priest, runs a Christian foster home called the Holy Trinity Convent.

The  a church-owned facility includes a shelter for elderly people, a foster home for children, a Sunday school and a small monastery, among other things.

Stremsky has worked there since the 1990s and is credited for legally adopting and raising as many as 70 children, making his family the largest in Russia. Holy Trinity Convent’s website says that, of Stremsky’s adopted children 58 have grown and left while 12 remain in the family.

The charges against him include the alleged rape of a girl under age 14 and one of molestation of a minor by an organised group. Stremsky denies any wrongdoing.

A judge agreed with the prosecution that Stremsky, a wealthy man with numerous properties in Russia and other countries, is a flight risk and ordered the court to lock him up until at least mid-November.

One of his adopted daughters, now an adult, and her husband have also been arrested. They are accused of unlawful detention.

Vladimir Legoyda, spokesman for the Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, called on people to keep the “innocent until proven guilty” principle in mind when commenting on the case.

Only a court can judge if a person is guilty or not, so I believe we should all refrain from emotional and uncalled-for remarks and let the investigators to do their job.

In 2015, Stremsky was detained for allegedly driving one of his luxury cars while drunk. As the picture above shows, he resisted arrest, but he case was ultimately dropped.

According to CrimeRussia, the priest took to the wheel of his gold Mercedes, ignored the demand of a traffic policeman to stop and attempted to escape from employees of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate and hide in a temple.

Stremsky then accused the policemen of an attack on a priest and stated that his car had been in the garage. The priest refused to undergo a medical examination.

The Prosecution Service cancelled the case initiated against the priest:

Due to premature conclusions by the police.

At the time Sremsky had notched up 10 speeding fines in 2015. Stremsky ignored all of them.

In 2013, Moscow’s Babushkinsky District Court deprived Stremsky of his driving license for a year and a half for drunk driving.

The Orenburg parish has temporarily excommunicated Stremsky for the duration of the investigation, and several of huis (sic) adopted children plan to demonstrate in his support, telling Russian media that they don’t believe the charges.