Winnipeg altar boy recounts alleged abuse by archbishop in court

Author: Dean Pritchard | QMI Agency
Date Published: 06/11/2013
Publication: Sun News (Canada)
His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim was born Kenneth William Storheim in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on January 25, 1946. Credits: AgenceQMI
His Eminence, Archbishop Seraphim was born Kenneth William Storheim in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on January 25, 1946. Credits: AgenceQMI

WINNIPEG — A former altar boy who says he was sexually abused by Kenneth William (Seraphim) Storheim told court Tuesday the future archbishop inspected his pyjamas for semen stains.

“He really wanted to look at my pyjamas,” the now 39-year-old man testified. “It was like a sexual education briefing, he was talking about pre-ejaculation … ‘because this is what happens at your age.'”

The man said Storheim was naked as he held the pyjamas up to the light.The man said he was 10- or 11-years-old when he spent two weeks living and working with Storheim at a Winnipeg church.

Upon arriving at the church’s attached residence, Storheim asked the boy if he would object to Storheim walking around naked, court was told.

“I told him I didn’t mind,” the man said. “I didn’t know any better … He was a role model (to our family). Whatever he said, we didn’t think twice about it.”

The man alleged on one occasion a naked Storheim examined his genitals for signs of pubic hair.

On Monday, the man’s twin brother — who also spent time as an altar boy at the Winnipeg church — testified Storheim tried to get him to touch his genitals and on a couple of occasions tried to get into bed with him.

The man in court Tuesday testified he told no one about his experience until his brother started calling their mother, begging to return home.

“He was screaming, crying, hysterical,” the man said.

“That triggered me to tell my mother what happened.”

The man said his family cut off all contact with Storheim and his mother refused to take his phone calls. Court heard the man’s mother later complained to Storheim’s replacement, who years later encouraged the alleged victims to file a complaint with the church hierarchy. He is expected to take the witness stand Wednesday.

Storheim was the rector at Holy Trinity Sobor in Winnipeg between 1984 and 1987, the time of the alleged assaults.

He was elected Canadian archbishop of the Orthodox Church in America in 2007.