2019-09-27 16:03:00

Defense lawyers for Orenburg priest charged with child sexual abuse appeal his arrest

Orenburg, September 27, Interfax - A lawyer for Archpriest Nikolay Stremsky, the award-winning head of a charity organization in the Orenburg Region, has filed an appeal against his client's arrest, an official with the Orenburg Leninsky District Court told Interfax on Friday.

"The appeal was filed today. The judge will consider it and will decide whether to accept it or not. Then the appeal will be sent to the Orenburg Regional Court, where it will be considered," the source told the agency.

Stremsky, who is the head of the St. Trinity Simeon Charity, an Orthodox organization, is charged with rape, sexual abuse, and failure to fulfill pertinent responsibilities in bringing up an underage person in accordance with the Russian Criminal Code. Orenburg's Leninsky District Court on Wednesday placed him under arrest until November 12. His daughter and father-in-law, who are charged with illegal deprivation of a person's freedom, were also arrested.

According to the investigators, Stremsky "repeatedly molested six underage foster and adopted children, and raped one of them" in the time period of January-August 2018.

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 and small children, who are under Stremsky's foster care or have been 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.

The priest's case has been sent to the Central Administration of the Russian Investigative Committee.

One foster child and eight adopted children who lived in the priest's house have now been placed with the child protective services in the Orenburg Region.

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.

This is not the Stremsky's first run in with the law. In 2015, nine years after receiving the Golden Heart award, the priest again gained press attention after he was detained for drunk driving and resisting arrest.