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Priest on administrative leave after ‘credible accusation’ of sexual misconduct with a minor

October 24, 2018

Priest on administrative leave after ‘credible accusation’ of sexual misconduct with a minor

PARMA, Ohio -- A priest was placed on leave by church leaders in Parma after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor and a false report of an attack.

Fr. Basil Hutsko was placed on administrative leave after a “credible accusation of sexual misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred 35 years ago,” the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma said in a statement.

Hutsko denies the allegations. 

Church leaders and a review board found the accusation to be credible and placed him on administrative leave, rendering him “unable to function in any capacity as a priest anywhere,” the statement says.

The Eparchy of Parma also addressed Hutsko’s claim that he was attacked, knocked unconscious and beaten Aug. 20 inside a Merrillville, Indiana church.

Hutsko told police the assailant yelled out, “This is for all the little kids,” prompting law enforcement to investigate the assault as a hate crime, and investigators to look into Hutsko’s own background. 

Church leaders say they “recently verified with a member of Father Basil Hutsko’s immediate family that the incident Father Basil Hutsko reported on Aug. 20, 2018, did not occur.”

After the alleged attack, Bishop Milan Lach learned of a woman who came forward in 2004 saying Hutsko abused her as a child between 1979 and 1983. Lach told the Merrillville parishioners in late August the eparchy’s independent review board concluded those allegations were not substantiated due to insufficient evidence. 

The eparchy has not elaborated on the nature of the accusations for which Hutsko was put on leave.

In addition to St. Michael in Merrillville, Indiana, Hutsko also previously served at St. Mary in Cleveland, St. Barbara in Dayton, St. Mary in Marblehead and St. Basil in Sterling Heights, Michigan, according to the eparchy’s statement.

“The Eparchy of Parma is committed to protecting children and helping to heal victims of abuse,” the statement said. “We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to actions of some members of the clergy.”

Anyone with information, or just those seeking help, can call the Eparchy’s Victim Assistance Coordinator at 330-958-9630.