Byzantine Priest Credibly Accused of Sex Abuse

By Michael Clancy
Arizona Republic
March 4, 2004

A priest who served at St. Stephen, a Byzantine Catholic Church in Phoenix, was the only priest with credible accusations of sexual abuse against him in the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys.

The allegations were announced Tuesday in a media release.

The eparchy covers 13 Western states, with headquarters in Phoenix since the Northridge earthquake in 1994 forced relocation from Van Nuys, Calif. Since its founding in 1981, 50 priests and eight deacons have worked for the eparchy.

Monsignor Alexander Nanko, who died in 1994, had seven credible allegations leveled against him, according to the release.

None of them resulted in local court action. Nanko was removed from active ministry in 1993, the release stated. He had served at St. Stephen since 1977.

Diane Rabiej, communications director of the eparchy, said the victims received counseling and other assistance.

The announcement brings to 52 the total number of accused clergy and other church personnel who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse in Arizona.

St. Stephen and eparchy offices are on 16th Street north of Northern Avenue.

The eparchy cooperated with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' study on the scope and causes of the sexual-abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, the release said.

It also is following the bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Rabiej added, including a safe-environment program and other policies to deal with sexual abuse.


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