SNAP is shocked by the change in a plea deal for a Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend priest
For Immediate Release March 10, 2022
Fr. David Huneck, who was charged in October of 2021 by the Whitley County Prosecutors Office with child seduction, sexual battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and furnishing alcohol to a minor, has reached a plea deal in his case.
We first want to applaud and acknowledge the victims in this case. Thanks to their willingness to come forward and provide statements during the investigation, a dangerous man in a position of authority has been taken off the streets. At the same time, we cannot help but feel that charges of this magnitude deserved a much stronger sentence.
According to the plea deal, Fr. Huneck will spend only 180 days in home detention, followed by two years of probation, and 80 hours of community service. The six original charges, including two felonies, were all dropped, and instead Fr. Huneck pleaded guilty to two charges of physical battery. While we would have hoped the court would send a stronger message to those who would groom and abuse parishioners, including children, we are at least glad that the victims, in this case, do not have to go through a lengthy trial.
Again, we commend the brave young women who had the courage to come forward to expose Fr. Huneck. 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.
This case is yet another example that Catholic officials, who insist that the sexual abuse scandal is 'in the past,' are simply wrong. Fr. Huneck was only ordained in June of 2018. Across the country, an average of two clerics are charged each month with crimes against children or targeted adults. We urge Catholic officials in the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend to begin the process of removing Fr. Huneck from the clerical state if they have not already done so, which would be taking initiative and showing some responsibility for employing this perpetrator. We also feel that the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend has an obligation to share where Fr. Huneck will be living during his home detention and if the Diocese will be responsible for his expenses during this time. Moral responsibility demands nothing less.
CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267) 261-0578 ), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is www.SNAPnetwork.org)