Moscow/Orenburg, September 26, Interfax - The central branch of the Russian Investigative Committee will investigate a criminal case against priest of the Orenburg Region Nikolay Stremsky, who has been charged with molesting and raping his underage wards.
"The criminal case has been submitted to the Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee for further unbiased, comprehensive, and more urgent investigation," the press service of the Russian Investigative Committee told Interfax in a statement.
As part of the investigation into the criminal case over 17 searches and seizures have already been carried out, items that are significant for the criminal case were seized, many witnesses were interrogated, and required inspections were scheduled, the statement said.
Between January and August 2018, Stremsky allegedly "repeatedly carried out acts of molestation against six foster and adopted underage children, and raped a girl," it said.
According to the statement, investigators additionally established that the priest's adopted daughter Yelena Stremskaya and her husband Viktor Scherbakov "locked up three underage victims in a garage, where they held them for a long time, in August 2018."
Seven underage children, who were identified as victims in the case, were provided with psychological aid, it said.
Stremsky, who is the head of the St. Trinity Simeon Charity, an Orthodox organization, is charged with rape, molestation, and failure to fulfil the duties to bring up an underage person in line with the Russian Criminal Code. Orenburg's Leninsky District Court placed him under arrest until November 12 on Wednesday. His daughter and father-in-law, who are charged with illegal deprivation of a person's freedom, were also arrested.
Seven underage and small children, who are under Stremsky's guardianship or are adopted by him, are identified as aggrieved parties in this criminal case.
Stremsky did not admit his guilt, saying that the children's testimony is false.
Metropolitan Veniamin of Orenburg and Saraktash issued a decree banning the priest from administering religious rites during the investigation.
In 2006, Stremsky, who is the head of the Russian family with the largest number of children, was presented with the Golden Heart international award, which was established by the Red Cross and the Russian government.
Nine years later, in 2015, the name of the senior priest of the St. Trinity Church in the town of Saraktash again gained press attention after he was detained for drunk driving and failing to obey the police.