A priest from the Catholic Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend charged with child sex crimes; SNAP commends the whistle-blower, the victims and law enforcement

Fr. David Huneck was charged today by the Whitley County Prosecutors Office with child seduction, sexual battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and furnishing alcohol to a minor. We are very grateful to the whistle-blower who alerted authorities, the two brave girls who came forward, and to the police and prosecutor for taking their reports seriously.

According to documents filed in Whitley Superior Court, the charges stem from two incidents that are said to have taken place at the home in Columbia City provided to Fr. Huneck by Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church. The investigation began on September 23, when an officer with the Columbia City Police Department began looking into a report of a possible sex crime made by a staffer at Fr. Huneck’s parish. The charges involve two teens that the priest met through his position at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, one being over the age of consent and the other still a minor.

Catholic officials who insist that the sexual abuse scandal is 'in the past' are simply wrong. Across the country, nearly two clerics are charged each month with crimes against children or targeted adults.  Fr. Huneck was only ordained in June of 2018, having previously worked in pastoral ministry and as a deacon.  He was assigned as pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross and also as the chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School.

We applaud the brave young women who had the courage to come forward to expose Fr. Huneck. We are hopeful that these charges will lead to a conviction, with a sentence to include mandatory registration as a sex offender, ensuring that Fr. Huneck will be under the watchful eyes of law enforcement and the public. We are also thankful to the whistle-blower and for the quick action by law enforcement that helped these courageous survivors know that their reports would be taken seriously and that their voices would be heard.

We know that those who commit clergy sex crimes often have multiple victims, so we believe that there may be others who have been hurt by Fr. Huneck who are still suffering alone and in silence. We urge Catholic officials in the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes at the hands of Fr. Huneck, or any others in the Diocese. Moral responsibility demands nothing less.

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