Fr. John Danilak – Archdiocese of Baltimore

On Behalf of | May 17, 2023 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Fr. John Danilak

Archdiocese of Baltimore/Byzantine 

John Danilak Horowitz Law


Ordained: 1961

Removed: 2002

Indicted: 2002

Died: April 16, 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1961:  St. Michael’s (Farrell, PA)
  • 1962: St. Ann’s Church (Harrisburg, PA)
  • 1963: St. Michael’s Cathedral (Passaic, NJ)
  • 1963-1965: Holy Spirit Byzantine Church. Pastor (Passaic, NJ)
  • 1970s: St. Gregory of Nyssa Church (Beltsville, MD)
  • 2002: St. Michael’s Parish, substitute priest (Montclair, PA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father John Danilak

Fr. John Danilak enrolled in the Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh.  He became a Byzantine Catholic priest in the Eparchy of Passaic who worked in several New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland’s Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 2002, Fr. Danilak was indicted by two separate grand juries in Ocean City, MD, on 21 counts relating to the sexual abuse of three victims.

According to court documents, Fr. Danilak was first indicted by the Worcester County grand jury on September 23, 2002. He was charged with two counts of sodomy, one count of child abuse, and 11 counts of perverted or unnatural sexual acts that allegedly occurred with a 15-year-old boy in the priest’s Montego Bay trailer home from April 1978 to December 1978. The teen was an altar boy at St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church in Beltsville, MD, where Danilak worked. Police records stated that the victim allegedly traveled to Ocean City with Danilak on several occasions to help him build an addition to his mobile home, which he owned from 1972 to 1998. Prosecutors claim the victim came forward 24 years after the abuse occurred because he had heard Danilak was a substitute priest at St. Michael’s Parish in Montclair, PA, and had contact with children.

According to media reports, Beltsville Police said the victim reported the incidents numerous times, but law enforcement and church officials were not convinced the abuse occurred. In fact, the victim’s attorney wrote a letter to the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, which stated that the victim did report the incidents to church officials shortly after they allegedly occurred, but Danilak was transferred to several parishes in Maryland and then Pennsylvania.

In November 2002, a Worcester County grand jury charged Fr. John Danilak with seven counts of unnatural and perverted sex practices with two boys aged 6 and 9 between 1974 and 1979 in Ocean City, MD. They were also altar boys at St. Gregory of Nyssa Byzantine Catholic Church. The victims came forward 28 years later after hearing that Danilak was indicted on similar crimes two months prior.

According to diocese officials, the Eparchy of Passaic, the diocese in which Danilak had been serving, reported the alleged offenses to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office in late spring 2002 after receiving a letter from the victim’s attorney. Fr. Danilak was stripped of his duties on July 1, 2002.

It is reported on the SNAP Network that multiple people allegedly committed suicide as a result of Fr. Danilak’s abuse. Fr. Danilak died in 2003 from HIV, just three weeks before his trial date. His charges died with him.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in Maryland. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maryland, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.