The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Seraphim Storheim granted bail after appealing conviction for sexual assault

  • Print

WINNIPEG - A former Orthodox priest convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy spent just over a week behind bars before being freed on bail until his appeal is heard.

Seraphim Storheim was convicted of sexual assault early this year and sentenced last week to eight months in jail for an assault dating back almost 30 years. His lawyer Jeff Gindin immediately appealed the conviction and sentence, arguing the judge came to the wrong conclusion when he didn't find Storheim's account credible.

Gindin argued Thursday his client should be released on bail until the appeal is heard because he poses no threat to society. If Storheim had not been granted bail, Gindin said it's possible he would have served the bulk of his sentence before his appeal was heard.

Justice Diana Cameron of Manitoba's Court of Appeal agreed that was likely — even if the appeal moves quickly.

"It's entirely conceivable he would have served out his sentence before a decision was rendered by this court," she said.

Storheim, now 68, showed no emotion as he was granted bail and told he could not be alone with a child under the age of 18 as a condition of his release.

The Crown opposed bail, arguing Storheim has been found guilty of an egregious offence and it would send the wrong message to release him immediately following his conviction.

"He is no longer cloaked in the presumption of innocence," said Crown attorney Neil Stein. "He is now guilty ... the public has an interest in seeing justice done."

Cameron said she agreed Storheim's crime was serious and involved a "significant breach of trust by a priest."

"Having said that, it was a single incident that occurred 30 years ago and was an isolated incident," she said.

The sexual assault occurred when a boy Storheim had met in London, Ont., came to visit the priest in Winnipeg in 1985 to further his Christian education. The man testified that during that visit Storheim would routinely walk around naked and would sometimes lie on the floor naked and touch himself.

The man testified another time Storheim touched him and inspected his groin as he sat naked on a bed. Storheim testified he talked to the boy about puberty and inspected his pyjama bottoms for semen at the request of the boy, but denied anything inappropriate took place.

Justice Christopher Mainella, who presided over Storheim's trial but who now sits on the Court of Appeal, said in his sentence last week that he didn't believe that explanation.

"The accused's motive for this sexual touching was his personal gratification, not his stated purpose at the time of sexual education," he wrote.

Storheim had been free on bail while the case made its way through the courts, but has been in custody since his sentencing. His appeal is expected to be heard this fall.

The appeal is largely based on the grounds that Mainella erred when he found Storheim's testimony wasn't credible, Gindin said.

"There is no reason why Mr. Storheim should be sitting behind bars when, in the end, the court decides a conditional sentence should have been imposed," he said. "The public does have an interest in justice and a person has a right to appeal."

At the time of the offence, Storheim was a priest in the Orthodox Church in America but he later rose to archbishop — the church's highest-ranking cleric in Canada. He was placed on leave when he was arrested in 2010 and retired following his conviction.

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.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Storheim was convicted last week.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets hope to give fans a good show for first home playoff game in 19 years

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • horse in sunset - marc gallant
  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google