Priest placed on administrative leave

YOUNGSTOWN — The Diocese of Youngstown has placed a priest on administrative leave after officials were made aware of allegations regarding inappropriate physical contact with a minor.

A letter from Bishop David Bonnar states the Rev. Marian Babjak was put on leave after accusations were brought to the attention of the Diocese last week.

Bonnar reported the allegation to Mahoning County Youth Services and placed Babjak on leave in accordance with the Diocesan Safe Environment Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.

Babjak, who has served at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers, remains a priest of the Diocese of Youngstown during this leave, with restrictions that prohibit him from celebrating the sacraments publicly, wearing clerical attire or presenting himself as a priest in good standing.

“The placement on administrative leave does not presume guilt as the purpose of this leave is to conduct a thorough and objective investigation,” the diocese said in a statement released Saturday.

“Let us continue to pray for all those who are hurt in any way by the church. Know also of my continued prayers and support for all parishioners. Together, let us pray that all may be one,” Bonnar said.

The Rev. Martin Celuch has been named administrator pro-tem of Christ Our Savior Parish effective this week while the investigation is conducted.

“Father Babjak’s right to a good reputation will be maintained throughout this process. Please pray for the accuser and Father Babjak during this difficult time,” Bonnar said in the letter.

Diocese officials said becaue this is an ongoing investigation, they will not be able to comment on the specifics of the allegation.

The Diocese of Youngstown encourages anyone who has been a victim of misconduct by a clergy member or church employee to contact Dominic Colucy, victims assistance coordinator, at 330-744-8451, Ext. 293, or via the diocesan response line at 330-718-1388.