Victims Group Pushes Support for Accused Archbishop Off Web

January 6, 2011

A Toronto newspaper reports:

A U.S.-based victims group has successfully appealed to Canadian religious leaders to stop a Vancouver parish from soliciting support for an archbishop in Canada charged with sexual assault.

However, a move to close down the parish’s Web-based fundraising campaign was not enough, Cappy Larson, a spokesperson for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Wednesday in an interview from San Francisco.

The leadership of the Orthodox Church in America’s Canadian archdiocese should take the next step and make a genuine effort to reach out to victims, said Ms. Larson, whose group claims more than 10,000 members, including hundreds in Canada. “They are just trying to protect themselves. They knew the parish could be a problem for them.”

Archbishop Seraphim Storheim, who was previously known as Kenneth William Storheim, was arrested on Nov. 24 in Winnipeg and charged with two counts of sexual assault. Media reports have stated the abuse allegedly occurred in the mid-1980s at a Winnipeg church and involved two 10-year-old boys.

Archbishop Storheim took a leave of absence from his post in October, when the police investigation became known. The Orthodox Church in America suspended him in early December, a week after he was arrested.

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