FILED AGAINST OCA BISHOP OF ALASKA, CHANCELLOR
Paul Sidebottom, the former acting Dean of Students at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the OCA Bishop of Alaska, Nikolai (Soraich) and his Chancellor, Archimandrite Isidore (Brittain) alleging sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge. According to a press release from Sidebottom's lawyer, James Spencer of Hinkle Elkouri LLC of Wichita, Kansas, issued yesterday:
“The EEOC complaint alleges that Archimandrite Isidore sexually harassed Sidebottom in May 2007. The EEOC complaint goes on to allege that Bishop Nikolai and Archimandrite Isidore caused Sidebottom to be fired from his job at St. Herman’s Theological Seminary in retaliation for Sidebottom’s filing of a sexual harassment complaint with Metropolitan HERMAN, the highest ranking official of the Orthodox Church in America.”
“Despite recent news media reports that Sidebottom’s sexual harassment complaint to the Orthodox Church in America have been dismissed, Sidebottom and his attorneys have heard nothing official about that complaint. ‘Paul is still hopeful that his complaint will be resolved within the structure of the Orthodox Church in America,’ said James C. Spencer, one of the attorneys on Sidebottom’s legal team. ‘Some will view Paul’s decision to file complaints with the EEOC and the Orthodox Church in America as a sign that he is making trouble in the Diocese of Alaska. But Paul is not making trouble -- he is merely revealing the trouble that is already there in the hope that this will not happen to someone else.’”
The press release concluded:
“The EEOC filing came days after a registered sex offender, Terenty Dushkin, was ordained by Bishop Nikolai as a lay reader in the Diocese of Alaska and was publicly defended by Archimandrite Isidore. On February 5, 2008, the Orthodox Church in America announced that Dushkin had been suspended from all ministerial duties in any parish of the Orthodox Church in America, effective January 17, 2008.”
No explanation was given for the delay in announcing the suspension or the EEOC complaint.
According to the EEOC website, “EEOC’s policy is to seek full and effective relief for each and every victim of discrimination. The remedies may include:
• posting a notice to all employees advising them of their rights under the laws EEOC enforces and their right to be free from retaliation;
• corrective or preventive actions taken to cure or correct the source of the identified discrimination;
• nondiscriminatory placement in the position the victim would have occupied if the discrimination had not occurred;
• compensatory damages;
• back pay (with interest if applicable) and lost benefits; and
• stopping the specific discriminatory practices involved.”
Sidebottom, who is currently employed for a non-profit in Wichita, is being represented by one of Wichita’s premier legal firms, one with close ties to the Antiochian Archdiocese. Founded in 1987, Hinkle Elkouri Law Firm LLC, with 40 attorneys, represents privately and publicly held business entities, as well as individuals. Mr. Spencer, an associate at the firm, specializes in employment law and litigation.
- Mark Stokoe