Second Sexual Allegation against Ohio Priest

United Press International [Cleveland]
July 19, 1990

A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting a teenage altar boy 10 years ago has a second accuser, a man who claims the priest propositioned him 15 years ago in New Jersey, it was reported Thursday.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Edward Lojun Jr., 31, of South Brunswick, N.J., said the Rev. John Rebovich, 50, propositioned him in 1975 while he was doing clerical work for Rebovich at St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Dunellen, N.J.

Lojun said he told a pastor and an official of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Passaic about the matter in 1978 and they promised to investigate, but nothing was done.

Rebovich was transferred a few months later from New Jersey to the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Parma, which covers most of the Midwest.

James Kotyk, 25, of Solon, Ohio, filed suit July 2 against Rebovich, 50, claiming he was raped in 1980 at St. Eugene Byzantine Catholic Church. The suit also named church officials who Kotyk said covered up the incident.

Kotyk's suit accuses the church of being negligent in failing to take action in response to earlier complaints, including incidents in New Jersey.

Rebovich, who is on leave from St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, has not been available to comment on the suit or Thursday's report.

But Monsignor Raymond Misulich of the Byzantine Catholic Diocese of Passaic in West Paterson, N.J., said he was unaware of any allegations against Rebovich.

"During that time, we were never informed of any type of misconduct by him," Misulich said. Misulich also said he did not know why Rebovich was transferred to the Cleveland area in 1978.

Several priests in the Parma diocese sent a letter to Pope John Paul II last year, claiming that diocesan leaders were guilty of a variety of misdeeds including homosexuality and embezzling of church money. Some of the priests have since said they were threatened and harassed.

Lojun contacted Kotyk's lawyers after reading about the case.

"I'm not looking for any money and I don't want to sue anybody," Lojun said. "But I will help in any way I can."

Lojun said that after becoming a close friend of Rebovich, Rebovich asked him to spend the night at the rectory. Lojun said that during that night, Rebovich asked to perform oral sex on him.

"I said, 'No Father, that would be molesting," Lojun recalled. "But he said if I consented, it was not molesting." Lojun said he pulled away from the priest after the priest touched him on his arm or side.


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