Hunterdon priest convicted of molestation dies in prison


WOODBRIDGE – The Hunterdon County priest who was serving a 33-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy died Monday at the state’s Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center.

John Banko, 69, was pronounced dead at 9:29 a.m. Monday, said Matt Schuman, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

No foul play is suspected in Banko’s death, Schuman said, adding he can not give any circumstances because of federal HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations.

Banko, a former pastor at St. Edward the Confessor in Milford , was convicted twice of sexual abuse during his tenure at the church. Known to parishioners as “Father Jack,” Banko was convicted in December 2002 of molesting a former altar boy on two consecutive Sundays after Mass at the Milford church from September 1993 to September 1994.

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