Friday, January 24, 2014

Bishop Seraphim (Storheim) of Ottawa: Guilty says court

How much more can the OCA weather?

(CBC News) - A Winnipeg archbishop accused of sexual assault against two boys has been found guilty in one case but not the other.

Seraphim Storheim, 67, will be sentenced later in the year. In the meantime, he will be free on bail.

Storeheim had been accused of sexually assaulting two pre-teen brothers in 1985. He was facing two counts — one for each boy.

In reading the verdict on Friday, the judge said he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt about the assault against one boy but the burden of proof was not met for the second.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Christopher Mainella said in his ruling that Storheim was evasive and untrustworthy in his denials on the witness stand.

The judge also said one brother was clear in his testimony, while the other had memory and mental illness problems.

The brothers, who are now in their 30s, testified they lived with Storheim briefly, on separate occasions, when they worked as altar boys in 1985.

Storheim's lawyer had suggested in closing arguments last fall that the evidence against his client was unreliable.

Jeff Gindin told the judge that the brothers' testimony just wasn't enough to convict Storheim beyond a reasonable doubt.

One of the brothers admitted he had large gaps in his memory and couldn't provide many specifics. He told court he is on several medications and has spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

But Crown attorney Breta Passler told the court Storheim's version of events didn't make sense. She argued that the brothers' testimony, in contrast, was genuine and honest as they tried to recall difficult events which occurred several decades ago.

Walked around naked

During the trial last fall, court was told Storheim met the boys in the early 1980s when he was posted in London, Ont.

When he moved to Winnipeg, Storheim agreed to have the boys stay with him separately during the summer of 1985 to further their Christian education.

During that visit, one brother said Storheim would routinely walk around naked and would sometimes lie on the floor naked and touch himself.

On another occasion, the man testified, Storheim touched him and inspected his groin as he sat naked on a bed.

The man's brother told court Storheim got into bed with him and asked to be touched sexually.

Storheim denied anything inappropriate took place.

He was arrested in 2010 after the brothers went to police. He became the Orthodox Church in America's top cleric in Canada in 2007 and is currently on leave.

The Orthodox Church in America has 700 parishes, missions and other institutions across North America. It is separate from other Orthodox churches such as the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Storheim became the Orthodox Church in America's top cleric in Canada in 2007 and is currently on leave.


  1. Just how anybody could claim that they can objectively judge the truth or otherwise of these matters is beyond me - I don't believe they can.

    We are seeing a procession of elderly men dragged before the courts to face charges for crimes allegedly committed decades ago for which there is no evidence but the claims of the accuser.

    There are multiple agendas at play here, including in this case anti Christian and anti clericalism ones. I'm not claiming that the Archbishop isn't guilty but I'm not claiming he is, I suspect the real truth of this matter is known only to God.

    Of course the real damage that is being done is that men with authority will not take troubled young men under their wings and mentor them because the danger of being accused of some impropriety is just too great

  2. Well, I don't believe he's guilty. And I would bet that I speak for an overwhelmingly large proportion of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Canada in saying so. This whole matter has stunk to high heaven since it started, and only more so now. God have mercy on our Vladyka. I hope he appeals.

  3. Priests, teachers, police officers -- these occupations are commonly made up of people from blue-collar backgrounds and good values who have worked their way up. They are also the targets of tyrants (cf any Communist revolution) because these are the people who in their daily work oppose tyrants through the promotion of faith, learning, and order.

  4. The judge's reasoning process is impaired. Guilty without any evidence abrogates the essential common law necessity of innocent until PROVEN guilty. Secondly how can he argue that he was a child molester with one boy but not interested in the other - that is faulty reasoning and shows a misunderstanding of child predators. and then other witnesses said he pastored with an open door to other parishioners who might enter at any time. and the judge heard of a whole body of parishioners of many parishes of his being a saintly man. always meek and gentile in all respects and always has been. this makes me highly suspicious of this judge and who appointed him - the ndp? happy life and times in ndp and liberal manitoba. i doubt a jury wouldn't have convicted him. also, the accusers were egged on by a wayfaring anti-priest organization from another country, all the while we know that putin wants to see the end of the OCA Orthodox! this smells like bad justice to me, and i'm the decendent of the chief justice of england, sir matthew hale. yes, something is rotten on the manitoba bench!

    1. Judges at all levels in Canada are appointed by the federal Prime Minister.