Survivors network responds after Struthers priest placed on leave

Local News
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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — SNAP, a survivors network for victims of sexual abuse, responded to allegations that a Struthers priest had inappropriate contact with a minor.

Reverend Marian Babjak has been placed on administrative leave by Bishop David Bonnor of the Diocese of Youngstown. The Diocese announced the decision Sunday.

“It is astonishing to us that Church officials routinely announce that a cleric’s placement on leave is not an admission of guilt,” SNAP said in a release.

In a letter that went out to parishioners over the weekend, Bonnar stressed that “Fr. Babjak’s right to a good reputation will be maintained throughout this process.”

The organization said it would be helpful if the Diocese were to release a list of other locations the priest previously worked at.

“We know from statistics that those who harm children seldom have just one victim,” the organization said.

Babjak is the head pastor at Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers.

SNAP encouraged anyone who has been a victim of misconduct by a clergy member to contact law enforcement directly instead of the church’s victims assistance coordinator.

“Secular investigations are the way to deal with clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, which has been going on unabated for decades. More importantly, such reports are more likely to reach the public, which helps survivors heal and empowers victims, many who are still sitting in silence, to come forward,” the organization said.

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