Judge weighing bail for convicted priest

By: The Canadian Press

 | Jul 17, 2014 - 2:21 PM |
WINNIPEG - A former Orthodox priest convicted of sexually assaulting an altar boy will hear today if he will be granted bail pending an appeal.

Seraphim Storheim was convicted last week and sentenced to eight months in jail for an incident dating back almost 30 years.

Jeff Gindin, his lawyer, immediately appealed the conviction and the sentence.

Gindin says his client should be released on bail until the appeal is heard because he poses no threat to society.

He told a judge Thursday that if Storheim is not granted bail, it's possible he will have to serve out the bulk of his sentence before his appeal is heard.

The Crown is opposing 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."

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.

On another occasion the man testified that 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.

Storheim had been free on bail while the case made its way through the courts, but has spent just over a week in prison following his conviction.

Judge Diana Cameron, of Manitoba's Court of Appeal, is set to decide on bail later today.

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