CHICAGO (CBS) — A Merrillville priest has been placed on administrative leave, after police confirmed he lied about being beaten at his church in August. The priest also faces a “credible accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor.”
Fr. Basil Hutsko, 64, said he was attacked at St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville, Indiana, while praying at the altar on Aug. 20, and claimed his attacker mentioned the clergy sex abuse scandal.
On Tuesday, the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, which oversees Hutsko’s church, said it verified with Hutsko’s family that the attack “did not occur.” Merrillville police also confirmed Hutsko made up the attack. Police had been investigating a possible hate crime, but now are questioning Hutsko.
It was not clear if Hutsko would face any charges for filing a false police report, but the Ruthenian Eparchy said he has been placed on administrative leave “in response to a credible accusation of sexual misconduct with a minor.”
The eparchy said the attack allegedly happened in 1983.
While on leave, Hutsko will not be allowed to serve in any capacity as a priest.
Before working at St. Michael in Merrillville, Hutsko previously has served at St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Cleveland; St. Barbara Byzantine Catholic Church in Dayton, Ohio; St. Basil Byzantine Catholic Church in Sterling Heights, Michigan; and St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Marblehead, Ohio.