Tag: church sex abuse

Fr. John Danilak – Eparchy of Passaic

Fr. John Danilak

Byzantine Priest in Eparchy of Passaic

John Danilak Horowitz Law
Ordained: 1961

Removed: 2002

Indicted: 2002

Died: 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1961-1963: St. Michael’s Cathedral (Passaic, NJ)
  • 1963-1965: Holy Spirit Byzantine Church (Passaic, NJ)
  • 1970s: St. Gregory of Nyssa Church (Beltsville, MD)
  • 2002: St. Michael’s Parish (Montclair, PA)
  • UnknownSt. Ann’s Church (Harrisburg, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father John Danilak:

Fr. John Danilak was a Byzantine Catholic priest in the Eparchy of Passaic who worked in several New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania parishes. In 2002, Fr. Danilak was indicted by two separate grand juries in Ocean City, MD, on 21 counts relating to the sexual abuse of three victims. 

According to court documents, Fr. Danilak was first indicted by the Worcester County grand jury on September 23, 2002. He was charged with two counts of sodomy, one count of child abuse, and 11 counts of perverted or unnatural sexual acts that allegedly occurred with a 15-year-old boy in the priest’s Montego Bay trailer home from April 1978 to December 1978. The teen was an altar boy at St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church in Beltsville, MD, where Danilak worked. Police records stated that the victim allegedly traveled to Ocean City with Danilak on several occasions to help him build an addition to his mobile home, which he owned from 1972 to 1998. Prosecutors claim the victim came forward 24 years after the abuse occurred because he had heard Danilak was a substitute priest at St. Michael’s Parish in Montclair, PA, and had contact with children. 

According to media reports, Beltsville Police said the victim reported the incidents numerous times, but law enforcement and church officials were not convinced the abuse occurred. In fact, the victim’s attorney wrote a letter to the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, which stated that the victim did report the incidents to church officials shortly after they allegedly occurred, but Danilak was transferred to several parishes in Maryland and then Pennsylvania.

In November 2002, a Worcester County grand jury charged Fr. John Danilak with seven counts of unnatural and perverted sex practices with two boys aged 6 and 9 between 1974 and 1979 in Ocean City, MD. They were also altar boys at St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church. The victims came forward 28 years later after hearing that Danilak was indicted on similar crimes two months prior.

According to diocese officials, the Eparchy of Passaic, the diocese in which Danilak had been serving, reported the alleged offenses to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office in late spring 2002 after receiving a letter from the victim’s attorney. Fr. Danilak was stripped of his duties on July 1, 2002.

It is reported on the SNAP Network that allegedly multiple people committed suicide as a result of Fr. Danilak’s abuse. Fr. Danilak died in 2003, just three weeks before his trial date. His charges died with him.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies nationwide If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest or clergy, contact our office today. Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Pedophile priests and alcohol Horowitz Law

The Correlation Between Pedophile Priests and Alcohol 

Pedophile priests and alcohol tend to go hand-in-hand. This statement is especially true for Fr. Stephen Kiesle, a California predator priest, who was recently arrested for killing a man while driving drunk. The news of this incident presents a few disturbing facts.

    • Many predator priests are still alive.
    • Most of them have not been defrocked (and are thus still getting paid by church officials).
    • Most of them live unsupervised, on their own, among unsuspecting neighbors.

If they have already broken laws by molesting children, common sense suggests they’re apt to do it again. This is especially true if they essentially escaped consequences for their child sex crimes. Kiesle was no exception. 

Fr. Stephen Kiesle, a twice-convicted child molester, was charged last week in a fatal crash that killed a man walking on a sidewalk with his wife in Walnut Creek, California. Fr. Kiesle has also been accused of – and repeatedly sued for – sexually abusing at least 15 children, allegedly tying up two of them. He went to prison and was put on probation. But for three years after being defrocked, Catholic officials let him volunteer in youth ministry at a parish. (Fr. Kiesle worked in at least four California cities – Pinole, Fremont, Union City, and Oakland – and had homes in two others – Truckee and Walnut Creek.)

As you might imagine, Fr. Kiesle is far from the only cleric to abuse both kids and alcohol. Many other examples of Catholic officials generated controversy because of their committing or concealing child sex crimes AND drinking excessively. It is even often regarded as the “curse of the Catholic clergy.” Here are just a handful:

There are generally two schools of thought about clerics like this. Some argue that those who assault kids or adults – or ignore or hide such assaults – drink heavily to mask their deep feelings of guilt or remorse.

Others maintain, however, that many of them are sociopaths who give little or no thought to the feelings or safety of others and drink to excess in part because they believe that they’re above the rules that apply to other people. According to research, alcohol has measurable effects on sexual arousal and risk-taking. A few drinks can increase the likelihood that a person will become the perpetrator or the victim of sexual assault and make a person more likely to have unprotected sex or pursue some object of desire that would be taboo under more sober circumstances.

Making a determination like this, is as they say ‘above our pay grade’ here at Horowitz Law. But this we DO know that ignoring wrongdoing encourages wrongdoing. And assuming that wrongdoers don’t need to face the consequences because they’ve supposedly changed or reformed or learned their lesson is reckless. It’s the opposite of prudence and justice. Every human being is accountable for their actions, priest or not. Nobody is above the law.

William Riley Horowitz Law

Worcester Diocese Places Food Pantry Director William Riley on Leave After Multiple Complaints of Sexual Misconduct

A well-known advocate for the homeless in Worcester, Massachusetts, William “Billy” Riley, was placed on administrative leave from his job as Director of St. John Church’s Food for the Poor program due to multiple allegations of illegal sexual misconduct. Riley has been the director of the food pantry since 2013 after retiring from the Worcester Country Jail and House of Correction. 

According to media reports, the Diocese of Worcester has received at least three recent complaints that Riley sexually abused homeless women by exploiting his position at the food pantry. On March 11, 2022, a complaint was received by the victim’s assistance coordinator for the Worcester Diocese stating Riley coerces vulnerable women from the soup kitchen into sexual encounters in exchange for food and clothes. The Bishop was immediately informed, and Riley was placed on leave pending a third party investigation by the Diocese. This investigation comes years after the Diocese allegedly received other abuse allegations about Riley from women in the Worcester area. The Worcester Police Department stated that Riley is currently under criminal investigation. 

According to a statement posted on the Diocese of Worcester’s website“Billy Riley was placed on administrative leave, and given the seriousness of the allegations, Bishop Robert Joseph McManus authorized hiring an independent third-party investigator by the diocese for a thorough investigation of this complaint.” Bishop McManus declined to comment on the specific allegations received. 

According to media reports, the initial complaint to the Diocese was made by a woman who worked as a sex worker until about eight years ago, and now is the CEO of an organization that supports women leaving prostitution. The victim said she first met Riley through the soup kitchen in 2011, at which time she was homeless. She claims that he “took an interest in her” and offered to let her shower at his house. She took him up on his offer as she was homeless and had nothing. The victim said that in exchange for food and a hot shower, Riley demanded sexual favors. Riley told the victim that if she didn’t oblige, she wouldn’t be able to access the soup kitchen anymore. The victim says this went on for three years. 

Since the first allegation was received but the Diocese a week ago, two other women have come forward to report similar experiences with Riley between 2014 and 2021. One woman stated that she met Riley after becoming sober and in withdrawal from an opiate addiction, and he offered to help her if she would go on “dates” with him as an escort. The woman explained that she would go to the soup kitchen daily to eat, and while there, Riley would set up a time to meet after he finished work, which always ended at his apartment. He would offer her use of his bathroom and shower and also give her money to perform oral sex on him. The victim explained that she never went to the authorities because he was important to her survival. The third woman told a nearly identical story of Riley coercing her into sexual acts in exchange for assistance with her daily needs.

Anyone who has experienced abuse and exploitation by Billy Riley should contact police or a rape victims’ advocacy group like RAINN.  You may also have legal options against the Diocese of Worcester, and our attorneys are ready to speak with you confidentially.  Please contact us by emailing our managing partner, Adam Horowitz, or calling (888) 283-9922.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergies around the country. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or  adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.