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This profile was last updated on 5/13/06  and contains information from public web pages.

Father John M. Banko

Wrong Father John M. Banko?

Own Diocesan Priest

Phone: (732) ***-****  HQ Phone
The Catholic Spirit
4 Brook Rd
Kendall Park , New Jersey 08824
United States

Company Description: The Catholic Spirit is the weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen, covering the Catholic community of Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties. This...   more

Employment History

  • Pastor
    St. Edward
  • Priest
    St. Edward
  • Associate Pastor
  • Pastor
    St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church
  • Catholic Priest
  • Adult Diagnostic

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member
    St. Edward
14 Total References
Web References
The Catholic Spirit - From the Editor, 13 May 2006 [cached]
Within the span of the last month, we have seen the resignation of Boston's Cardinal Bernard F. Law, a guilty verdict in the trial of our own diocesan priest, Father John M. Banko, on charges of sexual assault of a child, the signing of a joint agreement on how charges of sexual abuse are to be reported in New Jersey and the acceptance by the Vatican of the revised clerical sex abuse norms.
While difficult for the diocesan community, and heart-wrenching for the victim and his family, the trial of Father Banko has been a travail for all concerned.
Catholic Online - CCN News & Media - [cached]
In the first criminal trial of a New Jersey priest on sexual assault charges since the sex abuse scandal rocked the church beginning last January, Father John M. Banko was convicted Dec. 11 on charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree child endangerment.Father Banko's conviction was based on incidents dating back approximately nine years when he was pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Parish, Milford, in the Diocese of Metuchen.Sentencing was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 7.Father Banko, who was ordained three decades ago in Trenton, faces up to 20 years in prison.
• Your Catholic Voice
Priest rejects plea deal in sexual assault case, 13 June 2002 [cached]
Rev. John Banko is accused of molesting an altar boy.His trial starts in December.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
If convicted on all counts, Banko could spend 35 years in prison.
His attorney, Lewis White of New Brunswick N.J., said Banko rejected the deal because he steadfastly maintains his innocence.
"He rejected it because he said he is not guilty.
Banko, fomerly a priest at St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church on Mill Street, is accused in court records of forcing a boy under 13 to perform oral sex on him in 1993 and 1994.The documents also charge Banko with forcing the boy to touch his genitals.
Guilty Verdict, 21 Mar 2006 [cached]
rocked the Church earlier this year ended Dec. 11 with the conviction of Father John M. Banko on charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and third-degree child endangerment.
The outcome was hailed by those connected with the case as a textbook example of how through full disclosure of information and cooperation between the Church and law enforcement, abusive priests can be brought to justice.
Father Banko's conviction was based on incidents dating back approximately nine years when he was pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Parish, Milford.After less than two days of jury deliberations, Father Banko was found guilty of sexually abusing an 11-year-old altar boy on two consecutive Sundays in the sacristy of St. Edward the Confessor Church, where he served from 1989-95.
Father John M. BankoHe is currently being held in the Hunterdon County Jail, Flemington.Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 7.Father Banko, who was ordained three decades ago in St. Mary Cathedral, Trenton, faces up to 20 years in prison.Additionally, diocesan officials are preparing to explore the canonical implications of Father Banko's case.Banko has been, and is currently, suspended from active ministry indefinitely.
Upon hearing the verdict, Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski stated, "The criminal conviction of Father Banko brings closure to one aspect of what certainly has been a painful ordeal for so many, the first of which are the victim here and his family.
The diocese also responded to the conviction with a statement that apologized to the victims of Father Banko's crimes.In that statement, Ronald C. Rak, diocesan general secretary for administrative and legal services, characterized Father Banko's conduct as "abhorrent" and said that such conduct by anyone affiliated with the diocese "is not and will not be tolerated."
In an interview with The Catholic Spirit, assistant prosecutor Dawn Solari praised the diocese for fully cooperating with the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office throughout the three-year investigation of Father Banko.
After speaking with the victim, Hunterdon County detectives interviewed numerous members of St. Edward the Confessor Parish, as well as St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Skillman, where Father Banko was founding pastor and served from 1982-89, and Mary, Mother of God Parish, Hillsborough, where he was associate pastor from 1996-2000.
Father Banko was also interviewed during the investigation, but denied all allegations, Solari said.
While consistently denying any wrongdoing with the victim, Father Banko admitted to having sexual relations with men and women.At the trial, he testified that the "promise of celibacy" he took when he was ordained does not directly mention abstaining from sex.Instead, as he sees it, the promise simply meant he must devote his life to the Church and could never marry.
The diocese was first notified of the abuse allegations against the priest in April, 2000, at which point Father Banko was immediately suspended from active ministry.At the time of the suspension, Father Banko had already taken a leave of absence from Mary, Mother of God Parish to care for his ill mother.
In regard to any canonical proceedings that might be taken against Father Banko, Msgr.
Prior to the founding of the Diocese of Metuchen, Father Banko served the Trenton Diocese as associate pastor in St. Mary of the Lake, Lakewood, from 1972-74, and chaplain in the now defunct St. Pius X High School, Piscataway, from 1974-82.
In addition to the victim, three other witnesses testified during the trial that Father Banko made sexual advances toward them when they were minors.
One witness knew Father Banko from St. Charles Borromeo Parish, while another was a member of St. Edward the Confessor Parish.Both witnesses, now in their 30s, spoke of Father Banko's inappropriate conduct, which ranged from serving them alcohol to grabbing their buttocks.
The third witness told the court that he was molested by the priest for 10 years, beginning around 1972, when Father Banko was a seminarian in St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore.Prior to the trial, the victim had reported the abuse by his former religious education tutor to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Following this lead, and ultimately securing the accuser as a key witness in the case, turned out to be a "significant" factor in Father Banko's conviction, said Solari.
These include the victim's extended family and friends, Father Banko's family, and Banko's former parishioners, among others.
"An entire community was devastated by these selfish acts," he stated.
Father John P. Bambrick, who was, himself, abused by a priest and is now a representative of the New Jersey chapter of SNAP (Survivors' Network of Those Abused by Priests), attended Father Banko's trial as a show of support for the victim.
John M. Banko, 62, is ..., 4 May 2008 [cached]
John M. Banko, 62, is charged with abusing a boy who was younger than 16 years old when he was pastor at St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church in Milford between Sept. 1994 and May 1995.
A grand jury indictment charged Banko on separate counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in the latest case.
In 2002, Banko was convicted for performing oral sex on another boy after Sunday Mass twice in the 1990s.
Banko, known to parishioners as "Father Jack," became the first Catholic priest to be convicted following the child sex abuse scandals that that have rocked the church.
He was pastor of St. Edward's for six years before the Diocese of Metuchen removed him in 1995, and transferred him to the Mary Mother of God Church in Hillsborough.
Banko was then relieved of that assignment in April 2000, shortly after the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office began its investigation of the initial charges made against him.
He is currently an inmate at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township.
See more in Court news, Crime/Courts, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County, News, Religion
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