ST PETERSBURG: The Priozersky City Court in Russia’s Leningrad region has sentenced priest Gleb Grozovsky to 14 years in a high-security penal colony for molesting children in camps organized by the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and Greece.
“Gleb Grozovsky has been found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison,” Judge Lyudmila Yashgina said, announcing the court’s decision.
“I understand the sentence and will file an appeal. This is not the end, you will see the situation change,” Grozovsky said.
The prosecutor’s office had requested the court to sentence the priest to 15 years in a high-security penal colony and deprive him of the right to engage in activities related to the upbringing of children.
Grozovsky did not plead guilty and rejected all the charges as absurd.
According to investigators, in 2011, Grozovsky, who was a priest at the Ascension Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo near St Petersburg, sexually abused an underage girl. In the summer of 2013, he conducted similar actions towards two girls at an Orthodox child camp in Greece.
On September 21, 2014, the priest was detained in Israel and taken into custody, and in September 2016 he was extradited to Russia. On January 25, 2017 he was charged with the final wording of the commission of three crimes for which 12 to 20 years of imprisonment are foreseen. The lawyer of the defendant Mikhail Utkin and his client sent about a hundred complaints and petitions for violations on the part of the investigation. The prosecutor’s office asked the accused for 15 years of the colony.
After an investigation was launched, the priest fled abroad and was put on the international wanted list. In 2016 Grozovsky was brought to St Petersburg from Israel.
Sources in the Russian Orthodox Church said earlier that a decision on defrocking Grozovsky would be made after the court announced its verdict.