Attack on Merrillville priest called hate crime never happened, church organization says

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WLS) -- A church organization said Tuesday an attack on a priest in northwest Indiana that was investigated as a hate crime was falsely reported.

In August, Father Basil Hutsko reported an attack on his person while inside his parish, St. Michael's Byzantine in Merrillville, just south of Gary. He had received several bruises and was apparently hospitalized.

RELATED: Police investigating attack on Merrillville priest as hate crime
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Police are investigating an attack on a priest in Northwest Indiana as a hate crime.

The Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma, an organization Hutsko belongs to, said Wednesday the claim was a false one.

Hutsko is now on leave, after credible accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor came out against him.

The alleged misconduct occurred 35 years ago. A woman apparently came forward, saying that the priest abused her as a child, between 1979 and 1983.

Hutsko denied the accusation, but church officials said they found it to be credible. They did not release any other details.

Officials also emphasized the announcement was not a finding of guilt. The investigation is ongoing.

Hutsko is unable to function in any capacity as a priest, anywhere, for the duration of the investigation.

He previously served at St. Mary in Cleveland, Ohio; St. Barbara in Dayton, Ohio; St. Basil in Sterling Heights, Michigan; and St. Mary in Marblehead, Ohio.
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