Lawsuit Claims Bishop Stika Allowed Priest Admitting To Sexual Battery To Remain At Parish

A priest at St. Mary’s Catholic Church was named in a lawsuit claiming that the priest sexually battered a parishioner in 2020 and Bishop Richard Stika allowed him to continue to work for the church after receiving the assault report from law enforcement, according to court documents obtained by WVLT News.

In February of 2020, the father of anonymous Jane Doe’s youngest child was killed. Her primary language was Spanish so she reached out to a bilingual assistant at St. Mary’s in order to set up a meeting for emotional support and spiritual guidance.

Father Antony Punnackal was chosen to meet with Doe even though he did not speak Spanish. On Feb. 17, 2020 Doe went to St. Mary’s to meet with Punnackal. The bilingual assistant led her to a room with Punnackal and left them alone, according to the documents.

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