SNAP praises ‘victim one’ for speaking out publicly in the case of a Catholic priest recently charged with child sexual abuse
We are in complete awe of the courage and strength of Mariella Warney for publicly identifying herself as a 'victim one' in the case being prosecuted against Fr. David Huneck. It can be extremely difficult for survivors to come forward and talk about their abuse, especially if their perpetrator is a trusted religious authority figure. It is even more difficult to come forward at a young age. The average age for a survivor to disclose their abuse is 52.
We want Mariella and 'victim two' to know that their bravery in reporting what they experienced with Fr. Huneck may have helped to save others from a similar fate. Hopefully, both these courageous young survivors are getting all the help they need to heal. Mariella in particular should be greatly admired for speaking out, acknowledging publicly the devastating impact this has had on her and her community. We are confident that others will hear her voice and also find the strength to disclose their own suffering to family, friends, law enforcement, or groups like ours.
It is important to note that an average of two arrests per month of trusted figures in Catholic institutions is occurring right now. SNAP statistics reveal that there have been 350 clergy and laypersons charged with abuse since 2004. BishopAccountability, the largest public library of information on the Catholic sex abuse scandal, has documented 3,000 more perpetrators since 2004. This number, added to the initial 4,300 plus names acknowledged by Church officials in the John Jay Report, brings the staggering total to over 7,000 abusers, and this figure is growing monthly.
Many, if not most, of these named perpetrators, have slipped through the cracks of justice due to archaic criminal and civil statutes of limitations. Gratefully, the victims involved in this case came forward early enough to ensure that Fr. Huneck could face criminal charges.
Read Mariella's full statement below:
"To all those affected by the recent events involving Father David Huneck, my name is Mariella Warney. I am the individual being referred to as “victim one” in the criminal case against Father Huneck because I was the minor at the time of the sexual assault that was reported to the diocese and the police. I am making this statement to share my story and my truth.
I want everyone to know that I am okay, although emotionally devastated, and that I no longer want to remain in the shadows of being anonymous.
For my sake and the sake of the criminal case, I will not discuss details of the case. I will say that I feel that everything being done is fair and justified in both the legal and diocesan cases. These actions could not stay in the dark any longer and proper consequences had to be met.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend and everyone in the legal system who has made this process go as smoothly as possible. Throughout this confusing and troubling time, I have felt completely supported every step of the way.
Healing from this is going to take time, as my healing process has just begun. I am asking that we come together for one another as a community to help us all heal from these shocking events. I know this news is not easy to hear or to process, but with time, we can get through this if we support each other.
My heart and prayers go out to all survivors of abuse of any kind. You are so strong. I want you to know that you are loved and supported even through the darkest of times. I know that coming forward is not comfortable or easy, but when you are ready, know that it is safe. I encourage you to come forward, speak your truth, seek justice, and begin your healing process, as I have begun mine."