Columbia City priest suspended amid abuse allegations, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend responds
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend responded Tuesday to sexual abuse allegations against a Columbia City parish priest encouraging victims to come forward.
According to a statement from the diocese on Monday, Fr. David Huneck has been accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with a minor, as well as other allegations of misconduct.
The Diocese forwarded the information to the Department of Child Services, as well as local law enforcement.
According to Bishop Kevin Rhodes, there are two victims who came forward, one of whom was determined to have been a minor at the time of the abuse.
In addition to his work as the pastor of St. Paul of The Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City, Fr. Huneck served as chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School.
Rhodes says he was shocked by such recent allegations against a young priest. This is the first time in the sixteen years with the diocese Rhodes has had to handle recent allegations against a priest.
In December of 2018, Fr. Joseph Gaughan was accused of sexually abusing a minor over 20 years ago while serving at St. Anthony de Padua parish in South Bend.
Gaughan’s case was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome for adjudication and is still pending.
Speaking about Huneck’s case on Tuesday, Rhodes says he understands the hurt this causes the victims and the greater community of these priests.
“My heart goes out to the victims and to the communities deeply affected by this tragic news, which was a shock to us all,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes encourages anyone who’s been a victim to come forward, whether that means reporting misconduct to the church or directly to the police.
The Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed an investigation into the allegations.