Edmonton-born archbishop at the centre of sexual abuse allegations
- Edmonton-born archbishop at the centre of sexual abuse allegations
An Edmonton-born Orthodox archbishop has stepped down after being accused of sexual misconduct involving pre-teen boys.
Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa, who is the head of the church's Canadian archdiocese, has been given a three-month leave as of last Friday.
The allegations stem from the period of December 1984 to June 1987 when the 64-year-old was a priest at a church in Winnipeg.
Church officials are not commenting on the case, but the co-founder of an organization dealing with survivors of abuse from priests says the allegations involve the molestation of two boys around 10-years-old. And the incidents are believed to have happened 20 years ago.
Between 1981 and 1984, Seraphim served as a priest in Alberta, North Carolina and London, Ont.
He became ruling bishop of the archdiocese in 1990. Then in 2007, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop of Ottawa and Canada.
His family in Edmonton is overwhelmed by the allegations.
"People that he's mentored from little boys have grown up to be priests and deacons in the church. They're not accusing him. So who are these people?" asks Seraphim's sister Dianne Storheim-Hill.
Before Seraphim joined the Orthodox church, he was an ordained Anglican priest in Alberta. His first posting was at the Christ Church in Edmonton's Oliver neighbourhood.
The bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton says when she learned of the allegations, she took a close look at Seraphim's history in Edmonton.
"To see if there was any suggestion of any improper conduct of any kind while he'd been in this diocese and there was none," said Anglican Bishop Jane Alexander.
At this point, no charges have been laid. Winnipeg police will only say it's an ongoing investigation.
But Seraphim's sister is convinced he is innocent and nothing more will come of the situation.
"He said it's the toughest time in his life and he doesn't understand," said Storheim-Hill.
With files from Laura Tupper and CTV.ca News Staff