Ioan Pop, Losing My Religion

After writing about the sexual assault complaint about Ioan Pop on September 13, I was even considering going to the October 15 court appearance. It turns out that a court appearance has already taken place before I had a chance to wake up (and I’m still on antibiotics).

Ioan-Pop-and-Detective-Teresa-Curtis(Disclaimer: no connection to R.E.M. :-)

Once again, the news surprise me – and we even have a video of the press conference posted by Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-TIPS) and there’s a shorter version published by the Toronto Police. Here’s a summary:

Rev. Ioan Pop, 54, turned himself in to 41 Division on Monday. The original charge stemmed from an alleged sexual assault at All Saints, a Romanian Orthodox Church in the Birchmount Road and Danforth Road area, on Sept. 3. That alleged assault was interrupted by a couple entering the church, police say.

Det. Teresa Curtis of the sex crimes unit told a Monday press conference that members of the community came forward with complaints against Rev. Pop after police released his photo.

“I think that people came forward because they felt more comfortable,” Det. Curtis said at a Monday news conference. “There’s no [timeframe] for bringing forward these types of allegations. As you know, sexual assaults are under-reported.”

According to victims’ statements, Det. Curtis said the alleged attacks occurred between 2005 and 2011 to women between the ages of 24 and 43. The investigation into Rev. Pop includes eight complainants in total.

Police believe the alleged incidents took place at the Scarborough church as well as several homes throughout Durham Region.

He is scheduled to appear in an Eglinton Avenue East courtroom within the next 24 hours [NB: this was first published September 30].

Det/Cst Teresa Curtis asks victims of Ioan Pop to call 416-808-7474 x77895 Watch: ^sm
Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice)
September 30, 2013

In this article, I would like to go through my own “evolution” w.r.t. religion and also make a case as to why I believe there is still a chance that Father Ioan Pop is innocent – especially because it is hard and I have no first hand knowledge of this matter. First, let me make a few points that should have been obvious, but for some reason, are not.

  1. I write in English because it’s easier for me, and not to “show off” or make Romanians who might struggle with this language feel inferior. Virtually all my communication happens in English, with the exception of some old friends and relatives, with whom I interact rather seldom. I am quite sure my written English is above average, even by native speaker standards. However, as explained by articles linked in “folosirea virgulei..”, bilingual speakers suffer some kind of contamination when being exposed to both languages, causing them to make mistakes they might not make otherwise (or have difficulties in finding their words). I am no exception to this rule. In particular, in the “mistake” discussed by Ariadna in the previous article, “long term” may have been an adverb, as in “getting away long term”, which makes her correction.. well.. incorrect. In any event, I’m only human, I am [at least] bilingual, I am bound to make mistakes. I appreciate it when they are pointed out to me; however, when someone picks on non-existent mistakes and furthermore starts to correct jokes because their thinking is too rigid to accept them, that’s not terribly useful to me.
  2. Discussing difficult subjects is essential in a free society. I am deeply disturbed by people deleting or modifying their comments in the previous article (first Rucsandra S, then Pantera Ciroz). Canadian defamation law is rather backward, but free speech was more or less strengthened quite recently by Canadian Supreme Court decisions (see Michael Geist, VO, McConchie, USA-Hustler-Falwell). It is highly unlikely that you will be sued for expressing an opinion in a comment here regarding such a high profile case (then again, never say never). In particular, Father Ioan Pop will most likely be bankrupt when all this ends, whether guilty or not guilty, while I don’t see how the complainants could be harmed by comments here as long as their identities are not even known. If you are truly concerned, use TOR and establish a pseudonymous identity – I have several and I’m not abusing them.
  3. Whether for defamation / libel, or for sexual assault, or who-knows-what, I have no control over being sued or arrested. The most I can do is live my life ethically, and try to treat people the way I like to be treated. l recommend you do the same, and don’t let the fear of demented litigation prevent you from being alive. (Well, at least I try.)

* * *

Like most Romanians my age, I had an atheist education in school, combined with strong religious influences from my grandmother. She did not spend a whole lot of time with me, and as such her influence was not as strong. I do remember her trying to get me to pray before going to bed.  It was also some sort of peer pressure, as my cousins seemed to be preying, so I tried as well. I felt exceptionally dumb when praying. I had no concept of God, I had serious difficulties imaging there’s a guy in the sky who likes people to fellate him, whether literally or figuratively. I had an intense feeling of ridicule and decided that trying to make my grandma happy wasn’t worth it feeling so inadequate, so I stopped praying and resisted further pressure. I could also see no connection between priests, churches and God, assuming that God existed. It seemed like the afferent rituals were designed to make you feel stupid and crush critical thinking (incidentally, courts of law have somewhat similar customs with their requirement to stand and bow toward the dude on the pedestal with a hammer in his hand and black bedding sheets on).

At school, though it was quite obvious that some of the teachers believed in god, there was no pressure to lick god in any way. The only god we had was smiling idiotically from a portrait hung well above the black board. That god was even less attractive to me than my grandma’s God. I learned to “eat crap” in written documents by copying the language in newspapers and “Congress Reports” as well as “the little encyclopaedic dictionary” I had bought for all the easily accessible crap (Al Gore had yet to release the Internet upon the world, and Britannica was way beyond my budget, nor was it accessible). Those documents and speeches were, in a way, a form of communist prayer.


At one of our PTAP (or something else) classes, we were supposed to learn atheism. The teacher came with a bible and requested that we read it, because we could not critically assess something we don’t know. I never managed to read bible on my own, but I was nonetheless impressed with the open approach adopted by this teacher, versus my grandma’s efforts to get me to pray, which were generally rather short on explanations. The one dude who almost got me interested was probably MC Hammer, but even that wasn’t enough. I later learned that he had massive anxiety issues, like many chicks do. According to some black guy, atheism is a sign of “white privilege”.

I was a militant atheist for most of my youth – that is, I’d pick “fights” with religious people only to prove them wrong and stupid. I’m not proud of that. As a kid I was often loud, obnoxious and “too smart for my own good”. I didn’t mind coming across as a know-it-all. I discovered agnosticism (the wilful decision that you cannot determine God’s existence or lack thereof and consequently you refuse to engage in religious “debates”) quite late, learning it from a Montreal chick, instead of the “cigarette after”.

I thought agnosticism helps you avoid stupid debates that never go anywhere. Instead, it turns out neither militant atheists, nor fundamentalists like you. Militant atheists see agnostics as a group ripe for conversion to their religion. Fundamentalists hate agnostics because they perceive their “indecisiveness” as an attempt to be “godless” and squeeze by.

Right after 9/11 I attended and information session held by the Muslim Students Association at U of T. The Guest Speaker’s main example re: Quran’s “tolerance” was a “law” that allows Muslims to conduct business with Christians and / or Jews, but forbids them to interact as such with atheists and / or agnostics, who are “dogs”. There is no difference in Quran’s treatment (at least in that dude’s interpretation) between atheists and agnostics. That was a turning point for me – it seemed as if choosing agnosticism over atheism in order to avoid conflict was just dumb.

I started moving slowly away from agnosticism toward something I enjoyed more and found it in the Gaia Hypothesis (the strong, “godly” version) – I mentioned it briefly in the conversation with Krossfire. I felt no need to proselytize or worship and I was fine with other people believing in other things.

What I believe in now is not subject to discussion. Maybe it is the Christian God, maybe it’s Gaia, maybe I’m a Wiccan or maybe I went back to agnosticism. I can certainly debate from any position, but my beliefs are only for me to know.

Finally, I promised I was going to write why and how Father Ioan Pop could still be innocent. This article has become way too big, so I’ll develop that argument, time permitting, separately. I’ve already mentioned a little something-something in the comments to the previous article.

Sources / More info: gn-new, 680n-additional, 1010-7, np-new, ts-more, ins-more, tsun-ortho,


  1. I'd like to specify a few things - I don't normally delete or edit comments. If I wrote it down it means it's my opinion and it's going to stay the same until someone manages to convince me otherwise. However in the particular comment you're referring to I made a few allegations that although I have no doubt are true, would be really hard for me to prove, nor do I have any interest in doing so, nor do I have the time to spend in courtrooms trying to prove I wasn't lying. The comments system on your site is run by Disqus, which is a third party, fairly large company, and as such would most likely give out my information if they got a letter from a lawyer. I don't care enough about Pop to take this risk. Also, if he is found guilty, or even if he isn't I know his type - like most priests he's a vengeful mofo and will try to find people guilty of his misery, or at least clear his name. The reason why I'm commenting and following the discussions in the first place is because I personally know the guy, don't like him, and would not like seeing him walking away if he's guilty.

    And speaking about clearing his name, I wonder if you're going to eventually get some emails from people asking you to delete these articles. I would not be surprised.

  2. I think you're overreacting with deleting comments, but it's your decision. You're right, a lawyer can easily get a subpoena from a judge who cares more about the lawyers he sees regularly than about some stranger's freedom of expression, and indeed, many get it. As far as I'm concerned, I am reporting on widely disseminated news and my commentary is quite balanced (I think).

    Anyone can find the links to the news published by the large media outlets in the Sources. I don't like to let "libel chill" affect me. :)

    Ever since I started this blog I only got one request to delete an article. It was an article about a lawyer and the lawyer contacted me. I refused, and that was it.

  3. So, Zeamo... how does the first comment strikes you?

    Like... "...I don't normally..."

    "...I made a few allegations..."

    "would be really hard for me to prove..."



    Ori vorbești ceva ce crezi, ori faci joc dă gleznă.

    Pla mea, cunoști omul, nu-ți place de el... dă-l in paula mea, nu?

    (ori a ta, depinde)

    Dar să faci bârfă proastă/mioritică... asta pare a fi o caracteristică etnico/carpato/danubiano/pontică.

    Apropo de astea, am remarcat foo 3 greșeli dă scris englezești, da' mă abțin, fin'că ai calificat că nu ejti perfect.

    Nici io nu-s grammar-na(-)ți.

    E jenibil să vezi că lumea - după ce urlă-n gura mare - își șterge căcălica, precum pizdic... err, pisica vreau să zic, rucsandra.

    Bleah, zic, afirm și latru.

    Ia zi Zeamo... tu ai același pașaport ca ei?

    Te agiți la aceleași evenimente ca ei?
    Bei bere cu ei?

  4. Nu taică... e greșeli grosiere - deși poți să le treci la "taipo" - scrii repede, nu recitești. Fraze trunchiate, propoziții neterminate, alea.
    Dar să lăsăm... nu som presee, nu som fatighee.
    Le notrî com le conifer, avec mucozite sur le poatrin!
    Dac-aș fi blegu' care-am fost... acum cinci ani... AȘ PUNE NUIAUA PĂ FUNDU' TĂU!
    Te-aș bate până ai recita reguli gramatice românești ca pă Tatăl Nostru!

    "ei" sunt comentatorii tăi... ce dreaq', ești prea dens zilele astea?
    Ăia care comentează și-ș șterg urmele, că cică, alea.
    Jeguri, muci pă chiuvetă. Ecscremenți cu care tu te aliniezi doar fin'că vorbiți aceeași limbă obscură, pă cale dă dispariție.
    Rahați destrămați în prima ploaie... ăia e "ei"!


  5. It's enough to enter the full youtube link, Disqus will make it visible as embed.. nedensule :D

    Commenters are free to comment and are also free to delete their comments, whether I like it or not. Why would you have a problem with that?

  6. Amicul ăsta al tău îl știe și el pe Pop sau de ce îi ia atâta apărarea de zici c-o fute pe fiică-sa în timpul liber?

    Zice de bârfă mioritică habar n-având ce am scris în comentariul ăla.

    Poți să-i comunici că și aruncatul cu părerea în necunoștință de cauză e tot o caracteristică etnico/carpato/danubiano/pontică și sport național la românii ca el.

  7. O să-l rog pă Krossfire să-ți facă un desen ceva, că tu ești la densitatea dă cărămidă dă becea.

  8. Nu era atât de important. Oricum nu-mi mai pierd vremea cu trolii.

    Toți să fie sănătoși și să le fie bine, iar daca sunt nevinovați să li se facă dreptate, iar dacă nu să li se facă dreptate celor care au de suferit.

    Îi las pe alții care nu cunosc situația să-și dea cu părerea, că evident sunt mai avizați și mai deștepți.

  9. Băi tată-mare!

    Avizatule și deșteptule care ești.
    Cirozat Panterist.
    Dacă tot "cunoști" situația... de ce-ți mai ștergi comentariile?

    Aaa... fin'că nu poți să dovedești... NIMIC?!?
    Și ți-e frică să n-ajungi la tribunal, la calomnie?
    Aha... așa bănuiam și eu.

    Flexiuni dă sfincter bucal, hă?

    Ca orice român... tu "le știi"... da' nu ai dovezi.
    "Meserie, te halesc!... Da' n-am scule..." gen de mioritism.

    "Las'că mergism!"


    Bre Zeamo... de unde-i găsești p-ăștia bre? Dai anunț la ziar, pui fluturași la besearecă, ori cum?...

    Români d-ăștia cu gura mare... care dacă strănuți la ei... se-mprăștie ca prafu' neșters dă pă biblotecă, zic.

  10. apropo de "greseli grosiere":

  11. BLEGOO (arțăgos-agasat): "Ia mai slăbește-mă cu zemuri d-astea! Am zis că NU!
    Io-te bre... ăsta îmi face proces dă intenție acuma...!"

  12. Ia să băgăm ceva uofftopic:

    "Last week Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that doctors could not unilaterally ignore a Toronto family’s decision to keep their near-dead husband and father on life support. In the same breath, however, the court also confirmed that, under the laws of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, a group of government-appointed adjudicators could yet overrule the family’s choice. That tribunal, not the family or the doctors, has the ultimate power to pull the plug."


  13. you've got your wish - and soon enough, hopefully, a link - in the article about Arsinel and his kidney. troll away! :)

  14. Canada has some of the worst response to malpractice complaints (lawsuits almost never happen). Here's one product of this situation:


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