BBC [London, England]
December 24, 2021
[Photo above: Nikolai Stremsky was given a national honour for having Russia’s biggest family (file pic 2016)]
A Russian court has jailed for 21 years a former Orthodox priest, said to have adopted 70 children, for a string of child abuse offences.
Nikolai Stremsky was convicted of raping several children and other violent acts in his parish in the Urals in south-west Russia.
Stremsky was reputed to have Russia’s largest family and was decorated with a national Order of Parental Glory.
Barred from the priesthood he has also been stripped of his honour.
As an abbot in the town of Saraktash, Stremsky and his wife ran a foster home from the early 1990s, adopting children from orphanages in the region. Most of the 70 they adopted have since grown up.
He was arrested in 2019 and investigated for offences against seven minors, He condemned the allegations against him as slander.
Last year, one of his grown-up adoptive children and her husband were given suspended sentences for illegally restricting children of their liberty.
Sentencing Stremsky to prison in a penal colony, the court in Saraktash on Friday banned him from working with children for 20 years and removed his national parenting honour.