Priest Cleared of Sexual Assault Accusation

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

A Catholic Priest who worked in Fairbanks for 12 years has been cleared of an accusation of sexual abuse.  Father Gerald Ornowski was accused last year by a woman for abuse she claimed happened in 1994 when she was growing up in Stebbins, where Ornowski was then serving.  The woman withdrew her claims this spring, and her civil damages case was dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge.  Father Ornowski is a member of a Massachusetts based order, but in Alaska is under the supervision of the Fairbanks Catholic Diocese.  Diocese spokesman Robert Hannon says the case against Father Ornowski was dismissed with extreme prejudice.

Ornowski has been on administrative leave from his most recent assignment in Fairbanks as a Chaplain and pastor at St Mark’s University church.  Hannon says it’s unclear whether Father Ornowski, will return to work for the Diocese, or take a new assignment from his Massachsetts based order.  Ornowski is travelling and unavailable for comment, but in Diocese press release says he harbors no animosity towards his accuser, and thanks those who supported him during the year long ordeal.

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