The Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has placed a Mount Union priest on leave after allegations that he had sexually abused children in the 1970s came to light.
According to the diocese, George Koharchik, pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Mount Union, will not work as a priest and will not have contact with children while he is on leave.
Diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said the alleged sexual misconduct took place in the late 1970s. The alleged victims brought it to the attention of the church recently.
Bishop Mark Bartchak has notified the Cambria County district attorney of the accusations. The church did not elaborate on the alleged misconduct.
According to a statement from the diocese, Koharchik’s status “will be determined at the appropriate time after consulting with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican.”
Koharchik had been a priest at St. Catherine of Siena Parish since July 1, 2006, according to his Facebook page.
He is a 1966 graduate of Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, a 1970 graduate of St. Francis University and 1974 graduate of St. Francis Seminary.
A visiting priest will hold Mass at the church this weekend, but daily Mass will not be held during the week starting Monday.
DeGol said a letter from Bartchak will be read to parishioners Sunday to assure them that services including baptisms, funerals and weekend Masses will continue. DeGol also said the church has a victim abuse advocate, and the church will put anyone who feels they’ve been a victim of abuse in contact with her.
Anne Danahy can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @AnneDanahy