Russian priest suspected of molestation to leave Israel

(JTA) — An Israel-based priest who is facing extradition to his native Russia on child molestation charges said he would leave soon to prove his innocence.

Prosecutors in St. Petersburg asked Israel to extradite Gleb Grozovsky, 34, earlier this week in connection with allegations that he molested two girls in Greece last year, the Russian Interfax news agency reported.

On Tuesday, Grozovsky, who is working in Israel in a program that helps drug addicts, wrote on the Vkontakte social network that he would fight the allegations in court.

“I will return to Russia soon, where I will defend my innocence and the honor of Archpriest Viktor Grozovsky’s family because the Russian law enforcement authorities are already making an attempt to hold members of our big family criminally liable, and illegally, by inflicting psychological pressure,” Grozovsky wrote.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office requested the extradition based on what one unnamed source said were “materials obtained from the Investigations Committee’s Investigations Department for St. Petersburg in connection with a case involving the molestation of two minors.”

Investigators say that last June, Grozovsky sexually assaulted two girls, aged 9 and 12, at a children’s summer camp at the Orthodox travelers club Philadelphia, on the Greek island of Cos, Interfax reported.

Grozovsky is on the international wanted persons list, the source said, although it is known that he is in Israel.

The Gatchina Diocese said last November that the priest has been suspended from ministering for the duration of the investigation into his actions.

 

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