FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A local Catholic priest who pastored a Columbia City parish and served as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School has been charged with sexually abusing a minor in a case involving two females.
Whitley County Prosecutor DJ Sigler announced Friday he has filed multiple charges against Father David Huneck.
The charges are as follows:
- Child Seduction-Defendant has a professional relationship with child and fondles child
- Sexual Battery–Victim compelled to submit by force or imminent threat
- Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
- Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor-Basic offense for furnishing to a minor
- Two counts of battery
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Whitley Superior Court, the charges stem from two incidents that allegedly took place at the home in Columbia City provided to Huneck as part of his being the pastor at a parish there.
The affidavit said that 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 Huneck’s parish. The allegation involved two young women; one being an adult and one a minor.
After identifying the two women, the officer was able to interview the two women on September 24. Both indicated they knew Huneck from his role as chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne, the affidavit said.
The women told the officer that on June 30 they had been invited to Huneck’s home to “celebrate his birthday and eat cake.” The women and Huneck were the only ones there after their arrival at 10:30 p.m. They said Huneck offered them alcohol which they accepted, but they said they did not get intoxicated, according to the affidavit.
However, the two said Huneck, who was also drinking, became very intoxicated to the point where he was slurring his words and stumbling. They also described him as being pale and sweaty. They also said he vomited, the affidavit said.
At one point Huneck allegedly grabbed one of the women’s breasts through her clothing despite her efforts to keep her hands away, according to the affidavit.
Eventually, Huneck became so intoxicated that he laid on the kitchen floor. The two women then helped him up and put him to bed and that’s when Huneck pulled one of them into bed with him. Huneck stopped touching the woman after he asked her to. The women gave him water and stayed with him until he fell asleep, the affidavit said.
After that incident, the two women told the officer they had “several normal interactions” with Huneck and that he apologized to them and both were willing to forgive him. One of the women indicated she was willing to forgive, but “would not forget,” the affidavit said.
Then on September 17, Huneck again invited the two back to his home and both agreed to go because of his normal behavior over the previous weeks and his apologies. According to the affidavit, both said they continued to regard Huneck as a central figure in their faith.
After their arrival, Huneck again gave them alcohol to drink and he again became intoxicated. Huneck then began grabbing and groping one of them. During the assault, the women say Huneck exposed himself. They both left the home shorty afterwards, according to the affidavit.
One of the women provided text messages to the officer sent from Fr. Huneck. In the texts Huneck apologized and said he might be put on the “bad priest list,” the affidavit said.
Late last month, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said it was made aware of an allegation that Father Huneck was engaging in “sexual and other misconduct” with two victims, one who was a minor. No specific details about the alleged abuse were released at the time.
Huneck had served as pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City, and as chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.
Huneck resigned from his posts, and the diocese suspended him from all public priestly ministry “as a precautionary measure.”
Days later, Bishop Kevin Rhoades said he was shocked and troubled by the accusations, and said Huneck’s name was added to the diocese’s ongoing list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor first created in 2018.