SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]
June 8, 2023
(For Immediate Release June 8, 2023)
A recently deceased Archpriest in the Diocese of the South (DOS), Orthodox Church in America (OCA), apparently continued bear the title of “archpriest,” despite being a registered sex offender. We are absolutely shocked that Archpriest Benjamin Henderson, who was convicted of possessing child pornography, was never defrocked.
We have written to the late Fr. Henderson’s hierarch, Archbishop Alexander Golitzin, asking him to explain how such a travesty came about, despite evidence that the DOS was at least aware that the priest had been charged with this heinous crime.
A copy of SNAP’s letter to Archbishop Golitzin is linked here.
Child pornography is NOT a victimless crime. The images of the very real boys and girls who appear in the photos and videos are traded and used indefinitely, leading to a lifetime of victimization. Moreover, studies have shown a strong correlation between those downloading these disturbing images and those who abuse children themselves. At least 50 percent of those who consume such material also admit to child sexual abuse.
Accordingly, we urge the DOS and the OCA to not only give a complete and transparent public account as to why Archpriest Henderson was never defrocked, but also to do outreach to every parish where the clergyman worked, begging anyone who may have experienced abuse by him to come forward and get help. Finally, we believe that the DOS and the OCA should also directly notify any other Orthodox jurisdictions or religious institutions where Archpriest Henderson previously worked of his conviction, so that those groups can do the same outreach.
CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator (email@example.com, 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, President, SNAP Board of Directors (email@example.com, 814- 341-8386), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)