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Orthodox Church in America: Bishop did commit sexual misconduct

Text messages and emails sent by the bishop of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest did constitute sexual misconduct, according to a letter posted to the church’s website Sunday.

The church received the complaint Aug. 24 against Bishop Matthias, born David Lawrence Moriak, placed on administrative leave of absence while a response team formed by the Holy Synod of Bishops looked into the matter.

The Holy Synod accepted the findings Monday and its letter was to be read or posted in all parishes Sunday.

Bishop Matthias will remain on leave, it said, until he asks directly for forgiveness from the victim, enters a residential therapeutic program and undergoes a “focused period of time under the guidance of a peer bishop to examine, articulate and provide concrete direction in managing the expectations and accompanying spiritual, emotional and interpersonal challenges of exercising the office of the bishop.”

In a letter from Matthias, he asks forgiveness for “my poor judgment and careless words spoken to the complainant.” He said he was deeply sorry he offended, confused and caused hurt to the young woman, and he said he will apologize directly to her.

“I wish that I could convince all of you what I am certain of in my heart — that conscious motives behind my interaction with this woman were not impure,” Matthias wrote. “But, I know that only active, demonstrated repentance — confession of my sins, pursuit of the means of changing, and a resulting change in conduct — will be convincing.”

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