Priest accused of lying about attack sidelined amid abuse allegation

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- A northwestern Indiana Catholic priest who claimed he was attacked by an assailant mentioning clergy sex abuse is on leave after church officials deemed a 2004 abuse claim against him to be "credible."  Attorney James Niehaus for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, told the Post-Tribune that church officials received new information supporting the woman's claim that Rev. Basil Hutsko abused her as a child. 

The eparchy said Hutsko was placed on administrative leave from St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville, Indiana.

Police said Hutsko reported being assaulted there -- beat up while praying at the alter -- on August 20 by someone mentioning reports of clergy child sex abuse. That was the same day Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the world condemning the cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Now, leaders of St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church say he made that attack story up.

Merrillville Police didn't respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday.