October 13, 2020
By Meredith Colias-Pete
A former Merrillville priest accused of sexually abusing a girl in the 1980s, and later faking a 2018 beating at St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church was officially banned from the priesthood this summer, according to a church statement.
After a nearly two-year review, Basil J. Hutsko was defrocked, according to a letter dated Aug. 17, posted online from the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, an Eastern Catholic sect based in Ohio.
Hutsko, 67, was placed on administrative leave in October 2018. He could not be immediately reached Tuesday.
He “has been permanently removed from engaging in public ministry and does not live on premises belonging to the Eparchy. He is not permitted to celebrate Divine Liturgy/Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments. He is forbidden to wear a clerical garb and present himself as a priest. He is bound in conscience to pray and offer acts of penance for those in need of healing due to the harmful actions of clergy,” according to the letter.
Hutsko gained national attention in August 2018, after claiming an unknown assailant attacked him inside the church, yelling, “This is for all the kids!” alluding to the Catholic Church’s decades-long sex abuse scandal.
The incident was investigated by the FBI for a time as a potential hate crime. The church later concluded he made up the assault.
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