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Russian Orthodox Priest Arrested On Child Molestation Charge

Another Orthodox priest has been arrested in Russia and is under investigation on suspicion of molesting minors.

The Birobidzhan diocese in the Jewish Autonomous Region in Siberia said in a statement on November 26 that the rector of the church in the village of Amurzet, whose name was not disclosed, has been sent to pretrial detention.

The statement added that the diocese's bishop had relieved the arrested priest of all church duties and banned him from serving in the clergy while the investigation takes place.

The regional branch of Russia's Investigative Committee was not available for comment.

The priest's arrest comes two months after another Orthodox priest who adopted 70 children was arrested and charged with sexual assault, debauchery, and failure to perform parental duties. Protopresbyter Nikolai Stremsky, the prior of the Holy Trinity parish in the town of Saraktash in the Urals region of Orenburg, was arrested on September 25.

Seven minors who were under Stremsky's guardianship are alleged victims in the case. Stremsky's lawyers say their client has rejected all charges, adding that the testimony against him from the children was falsified.

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