Police charge Canada archbishop with sex crimes

Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:23pm EST
 
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Police have charged a Canadian Orthodox archbishop with sexually assaulting two boys during the 1980s, the latest in a tide of such charges worldwide involving church officials.

Winnipeg police said on Thursday that Kenneth William Storheim, 64, flew from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg to turn himself in and was charged with two counts of sexual assault.

Storheim is the head of the Archdiocese of Canada of the Orthodox Church in America but has been on a leave of absence since October 1, according to a biography on the church's website.

Storheim worked at a church in a poor Winnipeg neighborhood from 1984 to 1987 and later moved to Edmonton and Ottawa.

Police released Storheim on a promise to appear in court.

Charges of child sexual abuse against officials of Christian churches have made headlines around the world over the past two decades. Since 1992, the Catholic Church has paid $2 billion in settlements to victims in the United States alone.

In Canada, widespread physical and sexual abuse has been documented at boarding schools run by various denominations from the 1800s into the 1990s as they attempted to assimilate aboriginal children by separating them from their families.

(Reporting by Rod Nickel; editing by Peter Galloway)