Update on Fr. Gabriel Barrow
After placing two calls to the GOA’s sex abuse hotline and two calls to the chancery office over a three week period, Greta Larson received a phone call from Bishop Savas of Troas on May 6, 2005 at around 9:35am PDT.
Greta thanked the bishop for returning her calls, and then went on to say that many people were concerned over the stagnated case of Fr. Gabriel Barrow. Bishop Savas replied that Barrow had been defrocked and that this information would appear in the next issue of the Orthodox Observer. He added that once the Ecumenical Patriarch notified Metropolitan Isaiah, then Barrow and all the priests were notified via an official letter. Bishop Savas also told Greta that there was no need for any public statement (other than what would appear in the Orthodox Observer) because all the diocesan priests already were informed, and that is just not the way it’s done by any Orthodox jurisdiction.**
Greta commented that no one had known about this development, and Bishop Savas replied that people could have asked any priest in Metropolitan Isaiah’s diocese. Greta reminded the bishop that people had been sexually abused by Barrow, and there may be victims in Texas who are afraid to come forward without knowing the outcome of the spiritual court case. Greta also asked Bishop Savas if the men who presented evidence at Barrow’s spiritual court hearing, or who had offered to do so, had been notified of the outcome. He replied that the Metropolitan and the priests had to be notified first, and said that he would get to notifying the complainants.
We would hope that the fact the Barrow has been deposed for sexual misconduct has been disclosed to the Church community in Houston where the former priest last served. We also believe that this fact should also appear in the Orthodox Observer. Moreover, since the men who testified in spiritual court were abused while attending an Antiochian parish in Toledo, Pokrov believes that this information should merit a public statement from the GOA.
We encourage any further victims to come forward. If a case involves a minor, please go to the police immediately. Barrow also targeted vulnerable adult young men. We encourage any additional victims to contact us (415-820-9645). Names will be kept strictly confidential.
**Pokrov notes that in Section II (Prevention/Disclosure), the GOA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy says that, “Except in unusual circumstances (as determined in the discretion of the Chancellor), the disciplining of a Clergyman for Sexual Misconduct should be disclosed to the parish of the Clergyman and to the Church community in general.”