His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim (Storheim) is the Archbishop of Ottawa and the spiritual head of the Archdiocese of Canada, Orthodox Church in America.Note: There’s been an update on this case; see below.

Child abuse at the hands of clergy does not occur solely within the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant evangelical “bishop” Eddie Long was recently accused of having abused teens, as I blogged, and it cropped up also among Hasidic Jews in New York City (WebCite cached article). It seems to happen all too often, and in just about every religion.

The Globe and Mail of Canada chimes in with latest example of this phenomenon, within the Orthodox Church of the Great White North (cached article):

One of Canada’s highest-ranking orthodox officials is being investigated by police and his own church for allegations of sexual misconduct more than two decades ago.

Victims advocates say the allegations against Archbishop Seraphim Storheim relate to his time as rector of a Winnipeg church and concern two young boys.

The 64-year-old archbishop, who leads the Archdiocese of Canada in the Orthodox Church in America, took a three-month leave of absence from his duties, effective Oct. 1.

This is a new report, but of old allegations. One wonders why the Orthodox Church in America hadn’t dealt with it long ago. But then, denials and cover-ups spanning decades have been a feature of this scandal within the Catholic Church, so one can hardly expect anything else here.

Officials imply this had been known for a while, even if they didn’t say so explicitly:

Reached by The Globe and Mail Tuesday evening, the church’s Chancellor, Father Alexander Garklavs, declined to give any further details of the exact allegations against the archbishop, but confirmed the church was conducting its own investigation alongside the one being carried out by Canadian police.

He declined to say exactly when the church became aware of the allegations, but suggested it had known about them before police became involved.

“There were some reports,” he said. “But I can’t say much more than that.”

It’s sad that Storheim was left in a position of such prominence in spite of long-known child-abuse allegations.

Photo credit: OCA Archdiocese of Canada (cached).

Update: The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Storheim has been convicted of abusing one boy (cached).

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