Altoona-Johnstown Diocese: serial predator priest on leave as precaution
By Ivey Dejesus
June 21, 2016
|The Rev. Charles Bodziak was placed on leave in January "as a precautionary measure."|
Photo by Ivey DeJesus
The Altoona-Johnstown Diocese on Tuesday confirmed it had placed on leave a predator priest named in two sex abuse lawsuits.
Tony DeGol, spokesman for the diocese, said Bishop Mark Bartchak had placed the Rev. Charles Bodziak on leave in January "as a precautionary measure" pending further investigations into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including child sexual abuse, leveled on the priest dating back more than 30 years.
Bodziak was removed from his assignment at St. Michael's Church in St. Michael
Bodziak was on Tuesday named defendant in lawsuits filed in Blair County by two women who claim he molested them as children more than 40 years ago.
"His status has not changed, and the Diocese does not discuss any pending or current litigation," Degol said.
Bodziak was named a child predator in the grand jury report on widespread clergy sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in March.
The lawsuits were filed by Renee Rice and Cheryl Haun, sisters who have decided to be named by the media in their hope of helping other victims come forward.
According to the lawsuit, Bodziak sexually abused the women over a period of years beginning when they were between the ages of 7 and 9. The priest, the lawsuit states, allegedly plied the girls with alcohol to facilitate his crimes.
Bartchak removed Bodziak in January in the wake of findings from the grand jury investigation into reports of widespread clergy sex abuse in the diocese, which was launched by the Attorney General's office. Bodziak was named a child predator in that investigation.
Haun and Rice claim that three bishops of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were made aware that Bodziak was a serial child predator, but they permitted him to serve for decades a priest with unsupervised access to children.