FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Bishop Kevin Rhoades said Tuesday afternoon he was shocked and troubled by accusations of sexual misconduct against a diocese priest that surfaced this week, but he was committed to “purifying the Church of this scourge.”
Father David Huneck is accused of sexually abusing two people, including a minor, according to Rhoades. No specific details about the alleged abuse were released, but the diocese said it was told about the matter Sept. 19.
Huneck, who served as pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City and as chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School, has resigned from both posts and been suspended from all public priestly ministry by the diocese.
He has not been charged with any crimes. The Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the allegations.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Bishop Rhoades said the diocese was “cooperating totally” with law enforcement on the investigation. Internally, though, Rhoades said Huneck’s name has been added to the diocese’s ongoing list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor first created in 2018.
Rhoades said this heart goes out to the victims of abuse, and admitted that sexual abuse or misconduct by clergy has caused pain and anger for victims, their families and the entire Church.
Rhoades said he was shocked and troubled by the case – his first current and active case as a bishop in 16 years. Rhoades said the Church had worked hard to stop this sort of abuse by clergy.
“I want people to be able to trust our priests, to trust me, to trust the Church, but I guess we’ll never be perfect,” said Rhoades. “I realize this is a reality. Sin is a reality. I leave it to the public authorities to determine the criminal element in this, but I just will say I am so committed to purifying the Church of this scourge.”
Rhoades said he will introduce a new “administrator of the parish” at Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church to replace Huneck on Oct. 4. In June, he will name a permanent pastor.