Clifton Ukrainian Orthodox priest Oleh Zhownirovych accused of choking baby in Kansas

A Ukrainian Orthodox priest from Clifton is accused of trying to choke a baby in the Kansas City, Kansas, area.



Prosecutors say Oleh Zhownirovych, 54, tried to choke the 4-month-old baby while at a Wal-Mart in Overland Park, Kansas. He was charged with felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery.



Zhownirovych was a priest at the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Church in Clifton.



Police say Zhownirovych walked up to a women in the checkout aisle Wednesday and started to choke her baby without provocation. The mother screamed and Zhownirovych stopped, according to police.



Wal-Mart workers apparently restrained Zhownirovych until police arrived.



"We don't know if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or his mental state," says Overland Park Police Officer John Lacy.



The baby was not seriously hurt.



The Johnson County Kansas District Attorney said that Zhownirovych's first appearance in court was Wednesday.



It was not immediately known why Zhownirovych was in Kansas.



The vice president of the church association says that Zhownirovych never had any issues with children during his more than a decade-long tenure with the church. However, the association voted to remove Zhownirovych from his position about a year ago after they say he developed a drinking problem.


sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."