Georgian Patriarchate's orphanage investigated for rape, child abuse
The Office of the Public Defender of Georgia has requested information from the prosecutor’s office on four criminal cases of alleged child abuse in Ninotsminda orphanage in 2016-2021.
Georgia’s Ombudswoman Nino Lomjaria stated that the prosecutor’s office is also investigating allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in the Ninotsminda orphanage is headed by Bishop Spiridon of Skhalta.
“At the moment, the Office of the Public Defender does not possess detailed information about the alleged crimes and persons, as well as the current state of affairs. The Public Defender’s Office has already turned to the relevant departments with a request to clarify this issue”, Lomjaria said in a statement.
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Yesterday, civil activists held a rally in front of the government administration building and demanded an orphanage to allow the representatives of the Public Defender’s Office to visit the eatablishment.
Civil activists also created a petition with the same demand.
The boarding school for orphans in the city of Ninotsminda is one of the institutions that the human rights activists suspect of illicit activities and human rights violations.
The boarding house which belongs to the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church has denied entry both to the representatives of the Public Defender’s Office and the social workers.
Representatives of the Ombudsman claimed that they were denied entry and permission to carry out an assessment of the conditions in which the children at the orphanage live. This decision had been made by a high-ranking clergyman, Archbishop of Skhalta, Vladyka Spiridon, who is also the rector of the boarding house.
Vladyka Spiridon later released a video message in which he explained his refusal as follows:
“These are the people who officially demand the legalization of same-sex marriage. Personally, I believe that such people should not be allowed into orphanages or any family at all”.
Recently it became known that representatives of the Georgian pro-Russian Altinfo media outlet and a number of other organizations were admitted to the Ninotsminda boarding house, and Bishop Seraphim Jojua, who was accused of sexually abusing a minor in 2017, held a service in the boarding school yesterday.