No jail time for former Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend priest accused of sexual battery
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WNDU) - A former priest for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who was arrested on sex crime charges will spend no time behind bars.
According to Fort Wayne’s NBC, a special judge accepted a plea agreement for David Huneck on Thursday. The agreement calls for Huneck to spend 180 days on home detention and a year and a half on probation.
Huneck was also ordered to complete 80 hours of community service and will have to complete a substance abuse assessment.
Court documents released in the case accuse Huneck of inviting two young women, ages 17 and 19 at the time, to his home and giving them alcohol before assaulting them on two different occasions.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released a statement on Thursday applauding the victims for coming forward, but it feels that charges of this magnitude deserved a much stronger sentence.
You can read the entire statement below:
Fr. David Huneck, who was charged in October of 2021 by the Whitley County Prosecutors Office with child seduction, sexual battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and furnishing alcohol to a minor, has reached a plea deal in his case.
We first want to applaud and acknowledge the victims in this case. Thanks to their willingness to come forward and provide statements during the investigation, a dangerous man in a position of authority has been taken off the streets. At the same time, we cannot help but feel that charges of this magnitude deserved a much stronger sentence.
According to the plea deal, Fr. Huneck will spend only 180 days in home detention, followed by two years of probation, and 80 hours of community service. The six original charges, including two felonies, were all dropped and instead Fr. Huneck pleaded guilty to two charges of physical battery. While we would have hoped the court would send a stronger message to those who would groom and abuse parishioners, including children, we are at least glad that the victims in this case do not have to go through a lengthy trial.
Again, we commend the brave young women who had the courage to come forward to expose Fr. Huneck. We are also thankful to the whistle-blower and for the quick action by law enforcement that helped these courageous survivors know that their reports would be taken seriously and that their voices would be heard.
This case is yet another example that Catholic officials, who insist that the sexual abuse scandal is ‘in the past,’ are simply wrong. Fr. Huneck was only ordained in June of 2018. Across the country, an average of two clerics are charged each month with crimes against children or targeted adults. We urge Catholic officials in the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend to begin the process of removing Fr. Huneck from the clerical state, if they have not already done so, which would be taking initiative and showing some responsibility for employing this perpetrator. We also feel that the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend has an obligation to share where Fr. Huneck will be living during his home detention and if the Diocese will be responsible for his expenses during this time. Moral responsibility demands nothing less.
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