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Sexual abuse survivor returns to childhood church 41 years later

BEAVER, Pa. — A victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest made an emotional return to church Sunday morning.

Johnny Hewko testified in front of the grand jury that he was sexually abused at his church in Beaver for years.

"We need to take our churches back," Hewko said.

The allegations date back to the late 1970s, when Hewko was an altar boy at Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church.


He didn't report the abuse until 2009.

Hewko told Channel 11 he's going back to the same church 41 years later to show other Catholics he still has faith.

"I'm hopeful more people will get the strength to come forward," Hewko said. "The strength you will get is overwhelming from people. I don't know what words to say."

Hewko's abuser has since died, but he said he is going to keep advocating for survivors and taking back his church.