YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced one of its priests is on administrative leave following an allegation that he had inappropriate physical contact with a minor.
Reverend Marian Babjak has been placed on administrative leave by the Bishop David Bonnar, according to the diocese.
The allegation came to their attention on Wednesday, after which the priest was immediately put on leave. In a press release, they explained the decision was in accordance with the Diocesan Safe Environment Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
They said they reported the allegation to Mahoning County Children Services.
The release said Father Babjak is the head pastor at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers. Reverend Martin Celuch has been appointed to take his place while the investigation is conducted.
“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 diocese stressed in a letter to parishioners that “the placement on administrative leave does not presume guilt, as the purpose of this leave is to conduct a thorough and objective investigation.”
Babjak remains a priest but is prohibited from wearing clerical attire, presenting himself as a priest in good standing and celebrating the sacraments publicly.
“Fr. 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.