The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

August 24, 2012

Mount Union pastor placed on leave following allegations of sex abuse


The Tribune-Democrat

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — A Mount Union pastor has been placed on leave after 30-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct with minors in Cambria County surfaced on Friday.

Rev. George Koharchik, 63, Pastor of the Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Mount Union has been removed from the active ministry, according to a press release from the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. According to the Most Rev. Mark Bartchak, Bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, Koharchik will not be permitted to function as a priest and "will reside at a place where he has no contact with children."

Bartchak said these actions are pursuant to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, put in place in 2002 to address allegations of sexual abuse within the clergy. Bartchak has reportedly informed the office of Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan but there has been no word yet on official charges.

Daily Mass at Koharchik's parish will not take place next week and Bartchak said he will appoint a temporary administrator to handle the daily affairs of the parish.

"Children are a precious gift from God," Bartchak said in the release. "We must take the necessary steps to ensure their protection in the Catholic Church."