Hamp Woman Recalls Priest Peering in Window

By Lisa Freiman
Sunday Republican
February 16, 1992

A city woman ordered the Rev. Julian Pagacz to stay off her parents' property in 1988 after she saw him looking in a window at her late one night, the family said yesterday. Pagacz, 50, the pastor of St. Valentine's Polish National Catholic Church at 127 King St., pleaded innocent Thursday in Northampton District Court to charges of raping a 16-year-old girl from Poland and indecently assaulting a Hampshire County girl, age 17.

A copy of a written trespass order, obtained by the Union-News from Cynthia M. Childs yesterday is dated June 3, 1988 and advised Pagacz that he is prohibited from entering the land at 188 Rocky Hill Road belonging to Robert L. Brooks. It is signed by Brooks and Childs, his daughter.

Pagacz, reached at St. Valentine's Church yesterday, declined to comment.

"I can't make any comments without my attorney," he said.

His lawyer, Charles Maguire, could not be reached yesterday.

A trespass notice is an unofficial document which anyone can write. One copy is filed with police and another is sent to the person named in the order, according to police.

If the person goes on the property described in the order, he can be arrested for trespassing, police said.

Living with parents

Childs, 31, was living with her husband, Ronald, at her parents' home when Pagacz bought two houses next door to the Brooks at 206 Rocky Hill Road several years ago. She said he sometimes stood on the property line and stared at her when she sunbathed in the backyard.

Childs said she stopped sunbathing soon after, but did not go to police about Pagacz until she caught him looking in her window late one night.

Childs said she and her husband chased Pagacz after he looked in the window and told him they were going to police. The next morning, she said, Pagacz walked into her kitchen and asked her to "forget the whole thing."

Childs said she went to St. Valentine's to complain about Pagacz, but was told by someone there that "he wouldn't do that."

"I wanted to have him stopped," Childs said. "Someone had to find out about who he was."

Childs said she sent Pagacz his copy of the trespass notice by certified mail, and is certain he received the order.

Brooks confirmed his daughter's story.

Pretrial conference Feb. 26

Pagacz was charged Thursday with one count of rape of a child without force and two charges of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in Northampton District Court. He was released on his own recognizance, with a pre-trial conference scheduled for Feb. 26.

Pagacz is alleged to have raped the Polish girl, who has been living here about two years, sometime between the summer of 1989 and last May in Northampton, according to police and court documents.

During the arraignment, a prosecutor said Pagacz had the Polish girl's passport and threatened to have her deported if she reported the alleged incidents. Judge Robert Kumor ordered Pagacz to turn over the girl's passport, as well as his own, and Pagacz complied Thursday after his arraignment.

The weeklong investigation of sexual misconduct is continuing, according to police.

Members of St. Valentine's contacted Thursday described Pagacz as a friendly and jovial person, and expressed shock at the charges.

Priest to stay in church posts

Meanwhile, the diocese which includes all the Polish National Catholic churches in New England is conducting its own investigation into the matter, according to Bishop Thomas Gnat, Pagacz's immediate supervisor, of Manchester, N.H.

Gnat said Friday that Pagacz will remain in his post at St. Valentine's and at the Holy Mother of the Rosary in Chicopee, where he is filling in while the priest there is on extended leave.

The Polish National Catholic Church was founded in Scranton, Pa., in 1897, by a breakaway Roman Catholic parish.

Unlike Roman Catholics, the Polish National Catholic Church does not recognize the pope, allows bishops and priests to marry and holds that "original sin" is not passed down to succeeding generations from Adam and Eve.

The church has 250,000 members and 162 parishes in the United States, with 29 parishes in Western Massachusetts.

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