Former Archbishop in Canada Jailed for 8 Months for Sexually Assaulting Pre-Teen Boy

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 10, 2014 4:03 PM EST

An ex-archbishop in Canada was sentenced to 8-month imprisonment on Wednesday, July 9, for molesting an altar boy. Seraphim Kenneth Storheim, an Orthodox priest during those days, was charged for committing the offence 30 years ago. Storheim sexually abused the boy in 1985. The incident took place in Winnipeg as the boy used to come to visit the priest those days.

REUTERS/Hazir Reka
An Orthodox priest holds a cross as Serbs gather to mark the anniversary of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo at Gazimestan, near the capital Pristina June 28, 2014.

The priest did not show any emotion when he was convicted for the offence. However, he seemed disturbed when he had to get rid of a couple of wooden crosses as sheriffs took him into custody after the verdict.

According to Justice Christopher Mainella, Storheim violated "trust" in a gross manner. "The conduct of the accused was a deplorable and gross breach of trust," he said. "The sexual assault has caused permanent emotional trauma to the child who is now 40-years-old, who lives with the effect of the accused behaviour to this day and will live with that emotional trauma well after the expiry of the court's sentence."

Even though the Manitoba judge's verdict did not apparently affect the 68-year-old man, his supporters who attended the session seemed stunned to hear the judgement. Jeff Gindin, Storheim's lawyer, instantly revealed that his client would appeal the decision. According to him, there are several grounds for the ex-priest to appeal the verdict. He said that the credibility of the offence had been analysed with errors. There will be a possible bail appeal on Thursday.

Storheim was accused of molesting two brothers. He was proven guilty in one of the cases. The brothers who were in their pre-teen ages during those days are in their thirties now. Both of them testified that they briefly stayed with the priest in Winnipeg, though on different occasions. One of them also testified that he had been touched "inappropriately" by Storheim who made the boy fondle him. Storheim, on the contrary, said that he had puberty-related discussions with the boy in accordance with Biblical teachings.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Hazir Reka / )
An Orthodox priest holds a cross as Serbs gather to mark the anniversary of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo at Gazimestan, near the capital Pristina June 28, 2014.
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