Protection of the Theotokoswww.pokrov.org
1621 Haight Street #3
San Francisco, CA 94117
Voice mail: 415-820-9645
Date: June 1, 2004
An open letter to Archbishop Dmitri, Diocese of the South, OCA
Re. Fr. Andrew (AKA Sterling Rayburn, Isaac Melton, Brother Isaac,
Father Andrew Isaac Rayburn, Sterling Melton Peter Rayburn)
We have recently posted information on the Pokrov.org web site about the arrest and conviction of Sterling Rayburn AKA Fr. Andrew for multiple counts of child molestation in 1979 involving boys as young as 11 years old.
As you are well aware, Father Andrew was arrested at your chancery in Miami, where he was employed. He then served time in prison and on parole. Father Andrew is now serving at St. Michael's Skete (Canones, NM) in your diocese, the same diocese that he was employed at when he was arrested.
We have been unable to verify whether or not Father Andrew is a priest as well as a monk. Regardless, this man has been leading spiritual retreats for parishes and Orthodox youth for the last several years. In our investigation, we found that other Orthodox priests were aware of Fr. Andrew's background, and were unconcerned because they knew you were aware of the situation. That meant that parents unknowingly sent their children into possible danger.* Not only is this in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Guidelines published by the Orthodox Church in America, it is grossly negligent on your part.
We are including a copy of the letter that you sent to the Dallas Morning News, stating the very simple canonical solution that the Church has for dealing with those who abuse children. You imply that there is no problem in the Orthodox Church, because we know how to deal with abusers.
Your Grace, considering your letter to the Dallas Morning News and your participation in the process of developing and approving the OCA Sexual Misconduct Guidelines, you should be aware that allowing Fr. Andrew to lead youth retreats is not only a violation of these guidelines, but terribly irresponsible. Father Andrew's young victims were under his pastoral care when he was an Anglican Priest. It is common knowledge that pedophiles that act on their impulses are at high risk to re-offend.
On behalf of all those children you should have protected, Pokrov respectfully requests your answers to the following questions:
1) Why did you knowingly allow Fr. Andrew to be in a position
of authority over innocent Orthodox youth?
2) How do you plan on informing parishioners in your diocese,
and all dioceses and jurisdictions who participated in retreats
with Fr. Andrew, that their children were subjected to possible
3) How do you plan on warning visitors and/or neighbors of St.
MichaelGÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â³s Skete of the possible danger to their children?
4) When people see a man in clerical garb who is called
"Father" and lives in a monastery, they naturally assume he is
trustworthy. Do you plan on providing Fr. Andrew with this
continued position of trust?
We are disturbed because your actions demonstrate that you had no problem with Fr. Andrew's criminal past and no concern for the safety and well being of youth in your diocese.
We await a response from you. We plan to post this letter on the Pokrov web site. We look forward to posting your response as well.
Cappy Larson, Greta Larson and Melanie Sakodawww.pokrov.org
* These retreats were advertised on several web sites including the
OCA web site and on the web site of your Pharr, TX parish where
several children appear in a photograph with Fr. Andrew.