WALKERTON, Ind. The pastor of a Catholic church in Walkerton has resigned and retired in the face of allegations that he sexually abused a minor.
The alleged abuse took place “many years ago,” according to a letter to parishioners of St. Patrick Parish from Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese.
While Rev. James Seculoff has been a priest for more than 50 years, he has only been at St. Patrick Parish since August of 2013.
Prior to coming to Walkerton, Seculoff was assigned (since 2007) to St. John the Baptist Church in New Haven, Indiana—east of Fort Wayne.
The bishop’s letter to St. Patrick parishioners says “a preliminary investigation has revealed sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor did occur, and that a review board found the allegation to be credible. As required by Church law, we have notified the Vatican Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.”
A spokesman for the Diocese today said that Indiana’s Department of Child Services was alerted to the situation on January 8th.
A spokesperson for the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office said that office had not received any complaint at this point in time.
“My whole family has been going to the St. Patrick School when it was open as well as going to the church,” said former parishioner John Fry. “My father was down there when they broke ground for the school and helped them pour the foundation and get that all started.”
Fry went on to say he found it disheartening to “hear something like that, I wish there was more investigations into people's backgrounds before they would allow them in that capacity.”
Cory Smith is a Walkerton native who also found the news disturbing. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere and I hope justice is served, I really do, and I hope they find out the truth and I hope they get him if it happened.”
Father Jan Klimczyk has been appointed to serve as administrator of the parish.