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‘I was so young,’ man testifies at archbishop’s sex-abuse trial

WINNIPEG – The archbishop of an orthodox church has pleaded not guilty to charges he sexually assaulted two boys in Winnipeg.

Seraphim Storheim, who is on leave from his position at the head of the church in Canada, pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two teen brothers 30 years ago.

Storheim, who was charged in 2010, is on a leave of absence from his position as the head of the Orthodox Church of America in Canada.

One of the accusers, who is now 39 years old, had a tough time remembering details of his time as an altar boy for the church in many cities, including Winnipeg.

The man said for a few months he lived at the Orthodox Church in Winnipeg, where Storheim also lived.

The Archbishop walked around naked “all the time,” he testified.

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“It was his place, his house. He can do what he wants,” said the man, who can’t be identified.

One time the archbishop asked him to touch him, and he refused, he said.

“I started crying. I wanted to go home,” he testified.

He called his mom in Ontario and told her he wanted to go home because the archbishop was touching him.

“My mother would tell me, ‘You have to stay. You have to smarten up.’ Yeah, I was smartening up.

“I just started to feel really uncomfortable with what he was doing. I was disgusted. I was so young,” the man testified.

The archbishop put money under his mattress and one night came into his room and wanted to sleep with him, he testified.

“No, get away from me, get away from me,” he testified. “I don’t remember what I did, if I pushed him off.”

He saw the archbishop go into his room with young boys who the church fed, he testified.

He went home and told his family and a counsellor and notified police.

He later found out his brother had gone through the same thing, he said.

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None of his allegations has been proven in court.