By Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

Winnipeg: A former Orthodox priest is appealing his conviction for molesting an altar boy almost 30 years ago after being sentenced to eight months in jail for the crime. Seraphim Storheim showed no emotion Wednesday as he was given jail time for sexually assaulting a boy who came to visit him in Winnipeg in 1985.

He appeared more troubled when he removed two wooden crosses from beneath his black sweater before being taken into custody by sheriffs following the sentencing.

“The conduct of the accused was a deplorable and gross breach of trust. The sexual assault has caused permanent emotional trauma to the child who is now 40-years-old, who lives with the effect of the accused behaviour to this day and will live with that emotional trauma well after the expiry of the court’s sentence.” Justice Christopher Mainella said in court as a handful of Storheim’s supporters listened anxiously.

At the time of the offence, Storheim was a priest in the Orthodox Church in America but he later rose to archbishop, the church’s highest-ranking cleric in Canada.

The sexual assault occurred when a boy Storheim had met in London, Ont., came to visit to further his Christian education. Storheim, now 68, denied anything inappropriate took place. He testified he talked to the boy about puberty, which he said was prompted by the mention of bodily discharges in the Bible.