March 29, 2020
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Greek Orthodox priest charged with possession of child pornography convicted of sex crime in 1983

BANGOR, Maine — The Greek Orthodox priest arrested on allegations of possessing child pornography was convicted of a sex charge in Michigan in 1983, according to court records in that state.

Adam Metropoulos, 52, of Bangor remained at the Penobscot County Jail unable to post $10,000 cash bail Tuesday evening on a charge that he surreptitiously photographed a woman taking a shower in his bathroom and a separate charge that he possessed child pornography.

The priest was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with one count each of possession of sexually explicit material, a Class C crime, and violation of privacy, a Class D crime, according to Bangor police.

The bishop of the Greek Orthodox diocese that includes Maine suspended the priest of St. George Church on Tuesday.

Metropoulos was convicted in Michigan in 1983 of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under the age of 13, according to Saginaw court records. Because computerized court records there only go back to 1984, information about the crime and the sentence imposed was not immediately available.

If convicted today of the crime, which is a felony in Michigan, Metropoulos would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender, according to Aaron Boira, a criminal defense attorney in Detroit, Michigan. The crime, as defined today, includes any sexual contact with a child under the age of 13.

Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, who is prosecuting the case, said he had no other information on the priest’s criminal history.

Metropolitan Methodios, head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, announced in an email on Tuesday that Metropoulos “has been suspended from all priestly duties” until the criminal case has been resolved.

“The Metropolis takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and will cooperate fully with all applicable civil authorities,” he said in an email. “The Metropolis was not aware of any previous arrests.”

The parish council will decide if Metropoulos will be suspended with or without pay and how long he will be able to remain in the house on Fourteenth Street where the camera used to allegedly record the woman was reportedly located, the Metropolitan said.

The Greek Orthodox Church’s structure is similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church in that priests are appointed by a bishop to serve parishes rather than hired by congregations.

St. George Parish Council President Lee Speronis, who said that he learned of Metropoulos’ arrest about two hours after it was announced to the media by Bangor police on Monday, said a priest would be assigned to conduct services at St. George while Metropoulos is suspended.

“It is imperative that we have services,” he said Tuesday morning. “We will get through this with faith and the way we love each other.”

The parish council moved its regularly scheduled meeting from Thursday to Tuesday night and, in addition to its regularly scheduled agenda, planned to discuss the priest’s arrest, according to Speronis.

The council president said the church would not be posting the priest’s bail. Speronis said he was unsure whether that would be allowed by the diocese and the church did not have that much cash available.

The investigation that led to charges being filed against Metropoulos began Saturday when a woman reportedly complained to police that she believed she had been photographed or video recorded without her permission or knowledge.

She told police that she was taking a shower at the priest’s Bangor home on Saturday while visiting, Sgt. Tim Cotton, spokesman for the Bangor police, said Tuesday. She noticed a camera in a basket in the bathroom. When she examined it, the woman saw that it was turned on and she took the digital storage card from it, he said.

The woman confronted Metropoulos, Cotton said. She then went to the police station with the data card to lodge her complaint.

As part of the investigation, police examined the priest’s computer and allegedly found images of child pornography, the sergeant said. Forensic computer examiners are continuing their investigation into Metropoulos’ alleged possession of child pornography.

If Metropoulos was unable to make bail before Wednesday, he would appear before a judge.

Metropoulos has been the priest at St. George, the only Eastern Orthodox congregation north of Lewiston, since September 2001. A former high school chemistry teacher in Millinocket, he attended the Bangor church, dedicated on Sept. 7, 1930, before he entered seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1997. Before being ordained, Metropoulos often assisted his predecessors at services.

A native of Saginaw, Michigan, he moved to Maine in 1990 to teach at Stearns High School.

The church at 90 Sanford St., which has about 90 members, marked its 80th anniversary in 2010. Because it always has been a small congregation, St. George has held a high-profile fundraiser in the community for most of its 80 years. St. George’s Greek Ball once was a high point in the Bangor social season. A more casual version of the formal dance was held in the 1940s through the 1970s.

For the past 12 years, however, the church has raised between 22 percent and 26 percent of its annual budget from the Greek food sold at a booth at the American Folk Festival, according to a previously published report.

If convicted, Metropoulos faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the possession of child ponography charge and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the violation of privacy charge.

 

 


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