YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A priest accused of inappropriate contact with a person who was a minor at the time has killed himself, the Diocese of Youngstown announced Tuesday morning.
Rev. Marian Babjak died Monday in the Houston, Texas area of an apparent suicide, according to the Diocese. At the time of his death, Babjak was seeking therapeutic assistance at a treatment center in the area.
According to the Diocese, it was preparing to announce a second allegation of “inappropriate physical contact” against Babjak. He had been on leave since November 2021, when the first allegation was reported to the Diocese.
The first allegation involved someone who is now an adult. The Diocesan Review Board found the allegation did not involve sexual abuse but violated the Diocese’s standards.
The Review Board had recommended that Father Babjak engage in a period of evaluation, after which the diocese might consider him for possible future active ministry. Father Babjak resigned as a parish pastor and remained on administrative leave during his time of evaluation.
On Sept. 27, the Diocese received the second allegation by a person who is now an adult but was a minor at the time of the allegations. It came from Slovakia, where Babjak had served as a priest before being incardinated in the Diocese of Youngstown.
Babjak was informed of the allegation on Sept. 30.
Babjak served as pastor of Christ Our Savior Parish in Struthers from August 2020 until being placed on administrative leave in November 2021 and resigning as the parish’s pastor in July 2022.
He previously served as Associate Pastor at St. Paul in North Canton and St. Charles Borromeo in Boardman, as well as pastoral assignments before 2016 in Slovakia. He was ordained in 1995.
“The Diocese of Youngstown is devastated by Father Babjak’s death, and the trauma that will be experienced by all involved. As I extended my sincere condolences to those who mourn and offer my prayers for Father Babjak’s eternal rest, I wish to support those who have come forth with allegations. It is important that we as a Church support all victims of abuse and any inappropriate conduct, and remain vigilant and transparent,” said the Most Rev. David J. Bonnar.
The Diocese of Youngstown encourages anyone who has experienced misconduct by a clergy member or church employee to contact public authorities or the diocese directly through Dominic Colucy, Victims Assistance Coordinator at 330-744-8451, ext. 293, or via the confidential diocesan response line: 330-718-1388.