Former church pastor guilty of attacking infant at Overland Park Wal-Mart

Author: Tony Rizzo
Date Published: 12/22/2017
 Oleh Zhownirovych (Johnson County Sheriff’s Office)
Oleh Zhownirovych (Johnson County Sheriff’s Office)

A former church pastor from New Jersey has been found guilty of attacking a stranger’s baby at an Overland Park Wal-Mart.

Oleh Zhownirovych pleaded no contest Thursday in Johnson County District Court to charges of aggravated battery and battery. Prosecutors dismissed another charge of aggravated kidnapping.

A judge accepted the no contest pleas and found Zhownirovych guilty.

His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25.

Zhownirovych, 55, is the former pastor of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Clifton, N.J.

The incident occurred in October 2016 at the Wal-Mart in the 7700 block of Frontage Road.

A woman was in the check-out line with her 4-month-old daughter when Zhownirovych walked up and lifted the baby and her car seat from the shopping cart.

“It happened suddenly,” the woman said at a previous court hearing. “I was really startled, shocked.”

She said the man put the car seat handle around his neck so he and her daughter were facing each other.

She testified that the man said, “I’m going to take her. Call 911.”

The man then began choking the girl, the mother testified.

The woman said she called for help and struggled to get the man’s hands off her daughter.

Several people came to her aid, got the baby away from him and held him until police arrived.

The baby was not seriously injured in the incident.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc