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Priest Faces More Sexual Abuse Allegations

Nov 22, 2002 | Salisbury Daily Times A Catholic priest charged in September with allegedly sexually abusing an altar boy 24 years ago in Ocean City was indicted this week in connection with similar crimes against two other boys.

A Worcester County grand jury charged Father John Danilak, of Lynfield, Pa., on Wednesday with seven counts of unnatural and perverted sex practices with two boys between 1974 and 1979 in Ocean City, according to State's Attorney Joel Todd.

The victims, now 37 and 34, came forward after hearing that Danilak was indicted on similar crimes in September, Todd said.

Danilak, 62, was indicted Sept. 23 on two counts of sodomy, one count of child abuse and 11 counts of perverted or unnatural sexual acts that allegedly occurred with a teenage boy in the priest's Montego Bay trailer home from April 1978 to December 1978, according to court documents.

At the time, Danilak was a priest at the St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church in Beltsville, Md., where the boy served as an altar boy, police said. The victim allegedly traveled to Ocean City with Danilak on several occasions to help him build an addition to his mobile home, police said. According to land records, Danilak owned the home from 1972 to 1998.

The victim, now 40, came forward after learning that Danilak had contact with children as a substitute priest at St. Michael's Parish in Montclair, Pa., prosecutors said.

The Eparchy of Passaic, the diocese in which Danilak had been serving, reported the alleged offenses to the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office in late spring after receiving a letter from the victim's attorney. Danilak was stripped of his duties July 1, according to diocese officials.

In a letter to the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, Henry Weil, the victim's attorney, said his client reported the incidents to church officials shortly after they allegedly occurred, but the priest was transferred to a number of parishes in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

After receiving Weil's letter, the diocese notified the Worcester County State's Attorney's Office, police said.

Todd said Danilak is expected to go to trial in Worcester County early next year.

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