Note: This story appears in the Friday, April 27 newspaper on Page A3.
NEW LEXINGTON — A criminal investigation involving a former New Lexington priest who committed suicide last December has uncovered several alleged incidents.
Father James Csaszar, known as Father Jim to those who once attended his church in New Lexington, was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 7, 2017 by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a minor and misuse of church funds were made against him.
Csaszar was the pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany at the time he was placed on leave, and the allegations date back to when he served as pastor of St. Rose Parish in New Lexington.
Csaszar was a pastor in Perry County from 2005-2016, serving at St. Rose and at the parishes of the Perry County Consortium, including St. Bernard in Corning, St. Patrick in Junction City and Church of Atonement in Crooksville.
After an internal review conducted by the allegations against Csaszar, the church contacted the New Lexington Police Department, which then informed the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus confirmed it was determined there was inappropriate communication exchange between Csaszar and a minor that occurred over a period of time. The minor stated that while the texting conversations with Father Jim became “weird” and that he felt at times bullied and blackmailed by him, there was apparently no physical contact.
The Diocese confirmed that Csaszar admitted he was in possession of a nude photo of the minor. It was after the admission when the church turned the matter over to the New Lexington Police Department.
Csaszar was placed on leave as the investigation began; he traveled to Chicago a month later where, on Dec. 20, he committed suicide by jumping from a room at the 82-story Aqua Hotel.
Local officials have confirmed that the investigation is now closed.
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Bill Rockwell is a reporter for The Perry County Tribune.
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