Catholic Priest

Mark G. Balczeniuk

Diocese: Diocese of Scranton

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

On March 30, 2010, Father Mark G. Balczeniuk contacted the Reverend Richard J. Loch, Episcopal Vicar for Priests, and arranged a meeting with him.  Balczeniuk stated that on the previous Friday he had spent the night at the home of a family with whom he had a close relationship.  He admitted that while he was at their home, he kissed and hugged the family’s son, whom he estimated to be in his twenties.  Balczeniuk described the boy as having mental difficulties and being a little slow.  He explained that he was reporting this conduct because he was informed by the Reverend Mark A. Honhardt that the boy’s father was very upset and was going to report the incident to the Diocese of Scranton.

On March 30, 2010, the father did report the incident to the Diocese.  He stated that Balczeniuk had kissed his 18-year-old stepson on the mouth, embraced him, and rubbed his back underneath his shirt.

That same day, Loch notified Balczeniuk that his conduct warranted immediate and aggressive action.  Loch advised Balczeniuk that he could not continue to function as a priest and that he would be sent to the St. John Vianney Center as soon as possible.

On April 1, 2010, the Diocese notified the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office of the allegation.

On June 11, 2010, Earley also sent a letter to the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office wherein he stated that Balczeniuk had made certain statements to Loch on June 7, 2010. The letter stated, “when he was a seminarian he was assigned as a counsel at Camp St. Andrew in Wyoming County.  The priest stated that he touched the genitals of some of the young boys who attended the camp. This self-disclosed behavior is supposed to have taken place in the mid-1970s.”

On March 24, 2011, Balczeniuk notified Pope Benedict XVI of his request to be dismissed from the clerical state. Dispensation from the clerical state was approved on October 7, 2011.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.