Who Will Pay?

Author: George A. Varelas
Date Published: 10/09/2008
Publication: Pokrov

My Fellow Greek Orthodox Christians

In light of the pending cases against pedophile priests, it is likely courts may impose some very serious economic sanctions against those responsible for the despicable acts, and against those who may be proven to have covered up the bad actors. Should this be the case, there is a logical question that must be answered: How will one comply with a potential court judgment of many millions? We all know, judgments involving clerics of the western church have been approximately two billion dollars. This amount was amassed mainly from the sale of buildings.

Who then will be burdened with some multimillion dollars of judgments that, most likely, will be paid to no less than five or more alleged victims having cases before the courts? This is not a rhetorical question; rather it’s a very serious concern of many Greek Orthodox Christians who built our churches with blood and sweat. It’s a concern of men and women who work at the various fund raisers, who collect the junk for the flea markets, who pay constantly for the maintenance of the community buildings, and who hope to leave the churches to their children free of debt.

The people who go to church throughout the year bear no responsibility and should not be deprived of their buildings in order to comply with court judgments. None of us had any knowledge of what the alleged pedophiles were doing, and all of us, rest assured, must resist with the highest degree of perseverance and resolve any hierarchical decision affecting negatively our communities’ financial situation.

If what has been published thus far is true, the responsibility, both civil and criminal, should be placed on the shoulders of those who appear to have provided the protective cover-ups to the alleged sexual marauders. The former and the latter are the offenders; they should be held strictly responsible for the abominations and obscenities of the latter, no matter how far they may be or how many are willing to forgive them.

Once again reportedly, pedophiles and sexual predators pretending to be Greek Orthodox priests seem to have been transferred from the places of their crimes to other venues. This practice took place after credible allegations had been made to hierarchical authorities. It should be noted that the offense of covering up a felony committed by another is a crime known as “Misprision of Felony,” a federal offense under U.S. Code Collection, Title 18 Chapter 1, paragraph 4. This crime is punishable by a fine, or by imprisonment of no more than three years, or by both. This is a good law which the protectors of pedophiles seem to have purposefully violated.

In reference to similar violations, Attorney George Goldberg remarks ( American Bar Association Journal, February 1966, 52 {2} 148-150) that ” Misprision of Felony in US is a perfectly viable crime. All Americans are familiar with their legal duty to report serious traffic accidents to the police. It is about time we consider violent assault on persons as important as automobile crashes.” Can anyone deny that pedophilia is a serious crime against the person?

Unfortunately, the predatory sexual practices of rascal priests were not reported to police authorities at all; they were covered up. Should the protectors of child molesters deprive us of our buildings and of our funds to pay court judgments? And if the hierarchs demand that we do, are we to let them succeed? Should the various Greek Orthodox communities face financial collapse to pay for the crimes of deviant priests and for the serious errors of the hierarchy? On November 11, 2008, Archbishop Demetios will visit Saint George at Springfield, Massachusetts. Perhaps His Eminence may answer this pulsating question: who is going to pay the certain to come court judgments?


George A. Varelas
Westfield, MA