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Indiana priest abused in the church in the possible hate crime, police say

St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Indiana.

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A 64-year-old Catholic priest was brutally beaten Monday morning by an assailant hiding in the shadows of an Indiana church — and the attacker are hard message to the pastor before he was “black-out” has led to a request to the FBI to probe the attack as a potential hate crime.

“This is for all children,” the unidentified person told the Rev. Basil John Hutsko, if the attacker repeatedly hit Hutsko head on the floor of a dark St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church, the officials said.

The authorities believe that the note was in reference to the clergy abuse scandal, prompting the police to warn the FBI’s Merrillville office. More than 300 priests were accused of sexual abuse of approximately 1,000 children during the past 70 years in a variety of Pennsylvania diocese, according to a report released last week — but Hutsko was not named in the report and that is not yet linked to it in any way.

Hutsko was taken to a hospital for treatment, Merrillville Detective Cmdr. Jeff Rice said. His condition was not immediately known.

“He is a good priest, and, as everyone said, that he is not accused of anything,” the Ds. Steven Koplinka of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Parish in Munster, told the Post-Tribune. “Why attack him?”

A suspect in the attack was not immediately identified.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

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