Death of St. Anthony’s Monk Questioned

Death of St. Anthony’s Monk Questioned

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DDFC887789C170600AE436781E3A177C_588_588A KVOA TV station report from Tucson, Arizona, has re-examined the case of a former monk at Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Florence who killed himself outside the facility last year.

Reporter Kristi Tedesco, who also did two other pieces on the monastery, back in 2006, did another show, this one on Scott Nevins, 25, from Modesto, California, who was in her report seven years ago.

When Nevins joined the monastery, he changed according to his parents, the new show stated. He pushed his family away and started talking about conspiracies. Nevins tried calling his Mom the day he ran from the monastery. He hitchhiked out of there and immediately cut his hair.

“He was scared to death,” said his mother, Diane Nevins, who added he was paranoid and panicked and got two guns. “He was obsessed about the fact that he’d left his retainer at the monastery,” she said, and packed his guns.

According to a report from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department, a monk working security the same night that Nevins drove from Oregon to Arizona told responding officers that Nevins Scott drove to the monastery entrance and, “when approached, turned around fast and drove away.”

The monk followed him, in another car and a mile from the monastery entrance, Nevins stopped, he said, and shot himself in the head.

Billionaire Michael Jaharis, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, was critical of the way the investigation into the killing was handled in a statement four months ago. Jaharis said, “We expect to take severe and appropriate action as required to remedy this existing issue – since not doing so could have long term consequences.”

Nevins father called for some monastery officials to be forced out. “Those people need to go, especially those who were in positions of authority, who knew better.” Nevins’ family, through an attorney, reportedly sent the church and monastery a letter warning they will file a lawsuit if changes aren’t made.

 

  • Ioannis

    I didn’t see anything in the KVOA story about the therapist that Scott Nevins was seeing after he left the monastery in February 2011.

    On June 21, 2012, the National Herald reported:

    “[Archimandrite] Paisios revealed that ‘on Monday June 4, he called me and threatened me saying ‘I will blow your brains with a gun.’ I told him that it would be good for him to go and see a psychotherapist. He told me that ‘I already had gone and I am well.’”

    Who was this therapist and what are his/her credentials? Shouldn’t he/she have been interviewed by KVOA or at least the attorney hired by the Nevins family about the psychological state of Scott Nevins in the months between February 2011 and June 2012?

    Has it already been ruled out that this therapist who had apparently convinced Scott Nevins that he was “well” is not culpable at all in Scott Nevin’s behavior after he left the monastery?

    It has also been reported that Scott Nevins had two guns and a knife with him on June 10, 2012 (National Herald). Given that he had reportedly threatened harm to Archimandrites Ephraim and Paisios before that date, It appears that the public should be thankful that no other lives were lost in what could have easily turned into a Newtown-styled shooting massacre.

    Scott Nevins left the monastery on his own free will. He returned a year and three months later armed with two guns and a knife.

    Before passing blame on the monastery, we should hear from the therapist that Scott Nevins was seeing after he left the monastery. I’m surprised that there was no mention in KVOA’s reporting or any news accounts or in the investigative report put together by the attorney retained by the Nevins family of any therapist who was treating Scott Nevins or what treatment that he was undergoing for his obvious psychological distress.

    Why the silence? Why the blanks? Was this an oversight or is something being hidden?

  • John

    The KVOA report refers its audience to the “Demand Letter’ drafted by the attorney retained by the Nevins family.

    The letter contains an accusation of “Mystical Manipulation” against Achimandrite
    Ephraim: “Scott’s communicationswith his family, infrequent as they were
    during his monastery years were filledwith ‘examples’ of Archimandrite
    Ephraim’s spiritual gifts.”

    The letter then lists examples of these alleged gifts as if they were some sort of indictment against the Archimandrite.

    Yet a simple Google web search showed that Ashley Nevins (the father of the late Scott Nevins) was not above publicly showcasing his own alleged spiritual gifts (mystical manipulations?).

    Over the years, Mr. Nevins has notoriously taken to various Orthodox Christian blogs to express his opinions about the Greek Orthodox faith and the monasteries under Elder Ephraim.

    One example taken from an Orthodox Christian blog (“Monomakhos” – posted on October 29,2012) that Ashley Nevins has frequented over the years to express his opinions about the Greek Orthodox Church:

    “Years ago when I cried out to God in brokenprayer over the way Orthodoxy was breaking our son I asked God who are these people? You can believe this or not, Orthodox. He told me,They Are The Corrupt.It came across my mind and spirit from the Holy Spirit as clear as you justread it and the deeply spiritual impression in the words
    was this is corruption like you have never seen or experienced before. GOD DID
    NOT LIE TO ME.”

    In November 2010, almost 2 years before his son left the monastery, it was reported on another Orthodox Christian blog (“Mystagogy”) that Mr. Nevins showed up at St.
    Anthony’s Monastery,where he made another display of his alleged spiritual
    gifts:

    ” Mr. Nevins once visited the monastery and began performing an exorcism on the entire monastery in the middle of the courtyard, prophesying against it in the process.”

    Ashley Nevins has made public his own beliefs about about his own alleged spiritual gifts: 1) God speaks to directly him and does not lie to him. 2) Prophecy and Exorcism: He apparently believed that he could speak for God against St. Anthony’s Monastery and apparently believed that he had some sort of power over what he perceived to be an evil entity or entities at the same monastery.

    This public testimony by Mr. Nevins provides a picture of the kind of familial spiritual milieu to which Scott Nevins returned after he left the monastery.

    Mr. Nevins has filed a complaint via his “Demand Letter” about the alleged harmful effects of the alleged “Mystical Manipulation” by Archimandrite Ephraim by listing examples of Elder’s “spiritual gifts” while having already publicly touted his own alleged “spiritual gifts” in a most open, one might say brazen, manner.

    If the Nevins’ “Demand Letter” turns into a wrongful death lawsuit, how are the
    judge and jury supposed to discern which demonstration of “Mystical
    Manipulation” was most harmful to Scott Nevins, his experience at the
    monastery or his experience at home?

  • ioann.woo

    According to the KVOA report, the parents of Scott Nevins claimed that their son was so “paranoid and panicked” that he got his weapon’s license and two guns.

  • ioann.woo

    Scott Nevins “packed his guns” out of paranoia directed against the monastery that he left behind 15 months ago and his parents never thought to warn the monastery? Didn’t Scott Nevins’ therapist have an ethical duty to report gun toting paranoid behavior on the part of his patient to the authorities?

  • ioann.woo

    Why didn’t Scott Nevins’ parents take him to a mental health professional when they saw that his mental state was deteriorating? The KVOA report and the “Demand Letter” make no mention of any psychological diagnoses by any mental healthcare professionals (i.e.
    Clinical Psychologists or Psychiatrists) yet they are full of anecdotal accounts of mental illness.

    But the National Herald reported on June 21, 2012 that Scott Nevins mentioned that he had seen some sort of therapist who convinced him that he was “well.”

    Does the blank spot in the “Demand Letter” regarding post-monastery psychotherapy indicate that Scott Nevins did not seek any kind of professional help? Then what kind of diagnosis can be admissable in court about his mental state post-monastery and pre-suicide?

    Can the blank spot in the “Demand Letter” indicate that Scott Nevins had undergone some kind of therapy from an unlicensed therapist without professional qualifications?

    Could this be the reason why his mental state went from bad (fear, paranoia) to worse (suicidal ideation)?

    Who was this therapist who was treating Scott Nevins before he arrived at St. Anthony’s Monastery armed with two guns and a knife after making threats against Archimandrite Paisios in the prior week?

  • Anonymous

    Two questions: First, why did the monk at the gate follow Scott when he drove away? Obviously he did not respect Scott’s wish to get away from him. Second, why mention the fact that Jaharis is a billionaire? Who cares? It seems to be eugenic philosophy or mentality to give value to a person because they are wealthy, or to identify and define a person by their parts. Poor people are human too! But in the modern mind, and sadly in some Orthodox circles, a person is considered non-important or inferior (less human) unless they are extremely wealthy. This is worldliness.

  • Anonymous

    People need to be more compassionate toward the Nevins, and stop questioning their motives (this is classic cultism to question motives and “discredit” former members). The Nevin’s lost their son! Of course they’re going to be irate with that monastery, because in their minds the monastery is at fault. I think the Nevin’s have been handling this situation well.

    WARNING SIGN OF A POTENTIALLY UNSAFE GROUP/LEADER

    There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    The group/leader is always right.

    (Source: http://www.culteducation.com/warningsigns.html).

    WARNING SIGNS REGARDING PEOPLE INVOLVED IN/WITH A POTENTIALLY UNSAFE GROUP OR LEADER

    Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as “persecution”.

    Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

    Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under
    bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is
    avoided.

    (Source: http://www.culteducation.com/warningsigns.html).