New Jersey priest convicted of molestation dies in prison

A New Jersey priest who was serving a 33-year sentence for sexually assaulting an altar boy has died.

MyCentralJersey.com reports 69-year-old John Banko died Monday morning at the state’s Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center. A state Corrections Department spokesman says foul play isn’t suspected in Banko’s death.

The former pastor at St. Edward the Confessor in Milford was convicted of sexual abuse twice during his tenure.

He was convicted in December 2002 of molesting a former altar boy more than two decades ago. Banko maintained his innocence during the trial.

The victim in the second case was a 6-year-old altar boy in 1991 when the incidents began and continued for four years. The victim told his mother in 2005 and police were called shortly after.

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