Storheim’s appeal denied, going to jail
A former archbishop has been denied an appeal of his sexual assault conviction and sentence.
Kenneth (Seraphim) Storheim was found guilty Jan. 24, 2014 of one count of sexually molesting a young boy — and cleared of a charge he molested the boy’s twin — in incidents from nearly 30 years ago.
A Court of Appeal ruling issued Thursday by Justice William J. Burnett dismissed a motion for the court to hear fresh evidence, as well as motions to appeal Storheim’s conviction and sentence.
Storheim was sentenced to eight months in prison, but was out on bail pending the results of the appeal.
At trial, court heard testimony the sexual assault occurred in 1985 when the then pre-teen victim was living with Storheim in Winnipeg and serving as an altar boy. The victim testified Storheim walked naked in the home and would lie on the floor with his hand on his penis.
Defence lawyer Jeff Gindin had told the court newly uncovered “photographic and documentary evidence” cast doubt on trial testimony relating to when the victim was allegedly assaulted.
A set of photos submitted showed the twin brothers separately in Winnipeg in 1985, as they’d testified, or in 1986. A letter signed by five people said “some of the attached photographs were taken … on July 22, 1986.” One photo showed “a boy from not here” in 1986 — allegedly L.A.R., the brother whose evidence was dismissed as not reliable — a year after he testified to being in Winnipeg.
But Burnett ruled the photos meant nothing to the conviction.
“The Crown submits that even if the fresh evidence established, which it does not, that L.A.R. was in Winnipeg in 1986, it could not reasonably be expected to affect the result,” Burnett wrote. “Moreover, nice the time of the commission of the sexual assault is generally not an essential element of the offence, it being a crime no matter when it is committed, there is no need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the exact time of commission.”
Gindin also argued Justice Chris Mainella misinterpreted the evidence of one witness, Connie Kucharczyk.
Kucharczyk’s testimony was rejected as biased at trial because she and Storheim at one time planned to get married and Burnett upheld that ruling, stating that regardless, they were clearly close acquaintances for a many years.